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Full text of "The King of the commons; a drama"

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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, fl 



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KING OF THE COMMONS 



% Sirama* 



THE AUTHOR OF « THE EARL OF GOWRIE.' 



LONDON: 
f C. NEWBY, 72, MORTIMER STREET, 

CAVENDISH SQUARE. 
1846. 



EDMUND PEEL, ESQ. 



OF UNDERROCK, BONCHURCH : 



FRIENDSHIP AND REGARD, 



THE AUTHOR. 



PREFACE. 



The present play is one of a series on the Stuart 
Kings of Scotland. The only one hitherto published, 
" The Earl of Gowrie," was sent in manuscript to 
Barry Cornwall, and by him forwarded, with a very 
flattering judgment, to Mr. Macready. Though I 
was entirely unacquainted with both, they at once 
entered very warmly into my views, and I have now 
the grateful task of offering to Mr. Macready my 
thanks for his great kindness in suggesting such im- 
provements in this drama as render it more adapted for 
the stage than my theatrical inexperience would have 
enabled me to make it. 

I shall always feel pleased with my dramatic attempt, 
as it has gained me some friends of whom I may well 
be proud, — and shown me that if the Drama is at pre- 
sent sunk, it is from no unwillingness, on the part of 
those most interested in its success, to give every assist- 
ance to a new effort in the cause, — and still less from any 
niggardliness of praise and encouragement, on the part 
of the critics, to an author who honestly applies himself 
to the task. 



Bonchurch, Isle of Wight, 
May lift, 1846. 



DRAMATIS PERSONS. 



King James V. of Scotland. 

Lords Somerville, Kilmaurs, Gray, Seton, Hume, etc. 

Sir Adam Weir of Laichmont. 

George Weir, his nephew, under the name of Buckie. 

Malcolm Young, a distant relation of Sir Adam Weir. 

Laird Small of Mossholm. 

Mungo Small, his son, a gentleman Usher at Court. 

Archbishop, Bishop, Ushers, etc. 

Madeleine Weir, the grandchild of Sir Adam Weir. 
Widow Barton, his niece. 
Servants, Courtiers, Robbers, etc. 

Time, 1542. 



KING OF THE COMMONS. 



ACT I. 

SCENE I. — Antechamber at Holyrood. 
Mungo Small — Buckie, roughly dressed, 

BUCKIE. 

I pray you, let me to audience of the king. 



His majesty has not appeared to day ; 
I dare not call him. 

BUCKIE. 

Dare not call the king? 
You wrong his fame. He scarce would turn away 
A beggar from his gate — 

MUNGO. 

And you, good friend ? 

BUCKIE. 

Am not a beggar — save that I may see him. 

MUNGO. 

I trust 'tis joyous news you bring. The whip 
May pay you scurvily for woeful tidings. 

BUCKIE. 

How ? Is the guerdon measured in such wise ? 
Then he runs risk to hear few sober truths ; 
Will it be long before the king comes forth ? 



2 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 

MUNGO. 
Is't from the South you come ? Nithsdale, they say 
Is filled with soldiers. Old Caerlaverock groans 
With the prodigious weight of metal guns 
From Flanders. — 

BUCKIE. 

Does it, Sir ? I hope its groans 
Will move your pity to procure me hearing 
From gracious James. 

MUNGO. 

No, curse me if I do ; 
Why, where the devil have you left your tongue ? 

BUCKIE. 

Between my teeth, Sir. 'Tis the safest place. 
If you've a runaway horse, it's my advice 
To keep the stable shut. 

MUNGO. 

Oh ! That's the advice ? 
Now then, I'll give you my advice to match : 
If you would see the king, let that same horse 
Of yours be civil ; and not kick and bite, 
And look so cursed sulky. Get you gone ; 
King James is busy, with a dozen lords, 
Some bishops, and his eminence. — Be off ! 



Sir, I can wait. 

MUNGO. 

So much the better, Sir ; 
You'll have a famous opportunity. 
A close mouth'd hunks ; gad, if his news were gold 
He could not be more sparing. 

BUCKIE. 

I'm as patient 
As Job; and could change places with a milestone, 
So little fond am I of moving. — Here 
I sit ; and all the ushers in the court 
And chamberlains, and chambermaids to boot, 
Sha'n't move me, till I've seen our lord the king. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 



I'll beat about the bush no longer. — Hem ! 
Plump ! what's your business ? 

BUCKIE. 

Plump ! — I will not tell you. 

MUNGO. 

Then you sha'n't see him. 

BUCKIE. 

Then I shall ! 



Oh, will you? — 

The folding doors fly open — enter James, hurriedly, 
followed by the lords, bishops, 8fc. 

JAMES. 

He will not ? — but he must ! Not send the men ? 
Why what a silken-souled, white-livered knave ! 
What's his excuse ? 

MAXWELL. 

He's old — he's very old. 

JAMES. 

Old ? will he tremble in the chimney corner 

Counting his miserable years ? How old ? 

Has he a hand left ? Can he see, and hear ? 

By heaven ! he shall not cozen us with age ! 

If he's not with us on the Boroughmuir 

With his whole house, — his vassals — every one — 

He shall be seized for treason, if his age 

Were counted by the century. Hark, my lords ! 

I know there's more than age in this excuse, 

MAXWELL. 

Lord Bothwell is an aged man. 

JAMES. 

Too old 
To feel a Scotsman's blood stream at his heart ! 
b 2 



4 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 

1 know, I know, — but, as I live by bread, 
I'll show the sceptre's not a willow wand ! 
Trust me, 'twere wise in you to join my banner 
With every spear you have. We've winked too long, 
But we have not been blind. 

MAXWELL. 

My gracious lord, 
Banish these harsh thoughts of your noble peers, 
And listen to our humble suit. 

JAMES. 

Oh ! humble, — 
Your humble suit, — now, curse on humble suits 
Urged with false tongues! I'd rather have rough words; 
Ay ! though against ourself, from the bold heart, 
Than these same humble suits. What is your suit? 

MAXWELL. 

That you would pause, ere you advance your banner 
Against the English king, your loving kinsman. 



There spoke the recreant Scot ! The English king 
God pardon me ! I think is king of Scots. 
My lords — my lords ! this is no time to pause ; 
Our loving kinsman is our deadliest foe, 
Plucking our wreathed honours, one by one, 
Not in brave fight, but slily, stealthily, — 
Turning our nobles into gilded slaves, 
And stripping this poor crown of all it had, 
Not gold and jewels — they may go and welcome, — 
But honour, and the allegiance of true hearts. 
That were its glory through three hundred years. 
I looked not for it — I thought better things. 

(A pause — the nobles look disconcerted.) 
Tf I had heard a man two years agone 
Say that the Scottish nobles would desert 
Their king when England dared them to come on, 
I would have slain him as a slanderous liar ; — 
But now !— — (Turns away.) 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 

SOMERVILLE, (to a BISHOP.) 

Your lordship is a man of peace ; 
Speak to the king. 

BISHOP. 

What can I say to him ? 

SOMERVILLE. 

Tell him to spare his people. 

BISHOP. 

Ah, my lord ! 
I need not tell King James to spare his people ; 
They know he loves them. 

SOMERVILLE. 

But he'll spill their blood. 

BISHOP. 

Better to spill their blood than lose their souls. 
Oh, there be times and causes, good my lords ! 
When the white Christian dove must seek her nest, 
And leave the murky clouds to be cleft through 
By the strong pinioned, eagle. There be times 
When Piety herself must gird, the sword, 
And meek Religion, like an Amazon, 
Dart her fierce glances over fields of war. 



Well spoken, good Lord Bishop ! if the fire 
That warms your heart, gave but its sacred heat 
To other bosoms, there might yet be hope 
For me- and Scotland ! 

K.ILMAURS. 

There was fire enough 
In Scottish hearts that now are chill'd. 

JAMES. 

Now hear me- 
There shall no Douglas trample on this land, 
While there's a Stuart to defend his people. 
Where is the Douglas now ? In Surrey's ranks, 
Feeding on England's offals ; nursing scaith 
To all our realm ; hounding the tyrant on, 



6 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 

The blustering braggart Henry; let them go! 
Scotland can face all Tudors on the earth, 
And all the Douglases to boot ! 

SOMERVILLE. 

'Twere wise 
To see your royal uncle. 



What, to hear? 
His threats, and worse than threats — his patronage ? 
As if we stooped our sovran crown, or held it 
As vassal from the greatest king alive. 
No ; we are poor — I know we are poor, my lords ; 
Our realm is but a niggard in its soil, 
And the fat fields of England wave their crops 
In richer dalliance with the autumn winds 
Than our bleak plains ; — but from our rugged dells 
Springs a far richer harvest — gallant hearts, 
Stout hands, and courage that would think foul scorn 
To quail before the face of mortal man. 
We are our people's king. For you, my lords, 
Leave me to face the enemy alone ! 
I care not for your silken company. 
I'll to my stalwart men — I'll name my name, 
And bid them follow James. They'll follow me — 
Fear not — they'll follow ! 

CASSILIS (to SOMERVILLE.) 

He will do it, my lord. 
Promise him fair. 

SOMERVILLE. 

My liege, I but presumed 
To advise delay. I speak for other peers — 
If you give order to advance to the south, 
We will obey you. 

JAMES. 

Do you speak for all ? 

(Goes to Lord Somerville.) 
Lord Somerville, your hair is white with years ; 
Our own is grizzled now, but not with age, 
We have had griefs — we've had — but, let it go ; 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 

We may be harsh in tongue ; but if you saw 
Our heart you would give privilege to the words, 
For the dear love they spring from. Sweetest wine 
Gives strongest sour. My lords, you pardon us ! 

SOMERVILLE. 

My liege, we are your loving subjects ever. 



You'll meet me on the Boroughmuir as fixed ; 
Armed for our war, with all your followings. 
We will not keep you now. Farewell, my lords, 
We have much yet before us — fare ye well ! 

[Exeunt lords, except Seton. 

james {to Seton.) 
Seton — good Seton ! — stay with me. 



My liege, 
You honour me. 



Well man, and wherefore not ? 
Do you not know I mean to honour you ? 
Stand not so coldly, Seton ; come more near. 
Seton, I thought 1 that had gathered to me 
Love, trust, obedience, from — but let them go ! 
I have you left. You'll never leave me, Seton ! 

SETON. 

Never! But why this tone? 



Because my tongue 
Takes lessons from my heart. Ah, Seton — Seton ! 
I was the proudest king — too proud, perhaps — 
I thought I was but foremost in a band 
Of men, of brothers, of true-hearted Scots; 
But, pshaw ! — it shall not move me. 



My good liege, 
I think you're too much stirr'd by the loose talk 
Of 



THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT r. 



No, no, Seton ; there is more in this 
Than the loose tampering of an idle tongue. 
I tell you, Seton, they have made the crown 
A bauble on my head. But not for that, 
Fail I in purpose — not a jot. Ah, friend, 
I sought for hearts — I found but lip and eyes ! 



You wrong me — oh! my liege — if I might dare, 
I'd say my friend. 

JAMES. 

Say it ! I like the word ; 
Call me your friend. 

SETON. 

My friend ! my too kind friend ! 



Well ! Let me say in brief — for time is short — 

Go to the Boroughmuir and watch the looks 

Of our blue Bonnets, when you give the word 

For trampling on the bonny English Rose. 

If they are true — ha ! Seton — if our trust 

Is in stout jerkins, and we pass in scorn 

From blazoned shield and the tall waving plume 

SETON. 

I think your grace may do it. 

JAMES. 

Never king 
Was half so great, girt round with gewgaw earls, 
As circled by his people ! Hurry, then, 
And speed you well ! I trust you. What a word 
For a king's lip to utter to one man — 
I trust you ! 

SETON. 

Seton has no voice for thanks. 

[Exit Seton. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 



Will they be traitors still ? and play the game 
Was played at Lauder Bridge ? and leave their king- 
Unshielded, to the scorn and laugh of England ! 
I will not think so meanly of them yet ! 
They are not forward, as their fathers were 
Who died at Flodden, as the brave should die, 
With sword in hand, defiance in their hearts, 
And a whole land to weep and honour them. 
If they desert me — well, I can but die, 
And better die than live a powerless king ! 

(He sinks in thought.) 

(Buckie comes forward, and kneels at his feet.) 

What now ! who are you, friend? Ha! I remember; 
We've looked for you ere this. Up, up man — up ! 
What want you with us ? 

BUCKIE. 

Your majesty — but there be ears too near — 

(Pointing to Mungo.) 

JAMES (to MUNGO.) 

Retire ! 

MUNGO. 

The hunks ! I wonder who he is. [_Exit. 

JAMES. 

Speak out, man ! 'Twas a perilous dip in the Avon 
That your stout arm and ready help made safe. 

BUCKIE. 

Oh, sir, we're used to simple things like that ! 

JAMES. 

What ! plucking drowning kings out of a river ? 
Well, it is lucky you had practice, friend, 
We might have fared the worse else. 

BUCKIE. 

I was happy 
In being by to risk my limbs and life, 
Where Scotland has so long fixed all her love. 



10 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 

JAMES. 
Zounds ! you speak well — a stout, bold, honest fellow, 
What want you with us? 



To make known to your grace 
A something that concerns the kingdom's weal. 



In truth? some scant of justice to yourself? 
Some trickster wrong'd you on a market-day ? 
Out with it ! we will right you, if we can. 

BUCKIE. 

No, gracious king ; I speak not of myself. 

JAMES. 

Your father, then? gave him false weight of grain. 
For God's sake, man, make your complaint at once. 

BUCKIE, 

'Tis treason against you. 

JAMES. 

What say you ? — treason ? 
Who are you, friend ? 

BUCKIE. 

I saved your royal life 
At hazard of my own. Oh, happier far, 
If I may save your fame ! 



Sir, pardon me, 
If I mistook you ! Now I listen — speak ! 



My liege, you've heard of rich Sir Adam Weir 
Of Laichmont ? 



I've heard of him — go < 
A rich old usurer. 



THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 



Ay, Sir ; but his stores 
Are heaped for other uses than to lend 
To needy lords, or riotous young heirs. 

JAMES. 

What is't you mean ? You speak in parables. 



He pays a stipend — month by month, he pays it- 
By order sent from England, signed by Bowes, 
To knights and nobles that take daily stand 
Around your throne. 



What nobles and what knights ? 
But, no — I will not know their names. A stipend — 
A monthly bribe ! To bend their necks so low ! 
I would not hear their names. If it were Hume ! 
Or Seton ! No, no, no — it cannot be ! 
Ha ! a base bribe ; a mean, false, cringing crew ! 
Tell me no name ! I'd make them rue the hour 
They sold our Scottish honour for their bribes — 
But — is it true ? — {seizes him by the collar.) Dog ! if you 

tell me false, 
I'll brain you on the wall ! Who told you this ? 
Where lives this Weir? How got you this advice ? 

BUCKIE. 

He lives at Laichmont, near to Calder, Sire. 



I'll see him. From his heart I'll tear the truth. 
Thanks, friend. 'Twas kindly meant : but, by my soul. 
I wish this thing had not been told to me, 
That I had thought them fickle, wilful, cold, 
Cowards— ay, cowards — anything but this. — 
Thanks : I will see you soon. Take this, and this. 

(Gives his ring and purse.) 
Say nought of what you've told me. I will ride 
To Laichmont House this hour, — this very hour. 



12 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 

Oh, if 'tis true : if they're the very slaves 
To live on foreign bribes — there shall be blood 
Shall make the High Street run as if with wine! 
Good day, my friend — be silent — and farewell. 

[Exit James. 

BUCKIE. 

He rides alone — he must not ride alone ; 
He's worth the whole of the nobles in a bunch. 
I'll be his guard, if no one else will. 

mungo (re-entering). 

Well? 
What said the King ? 

BUCKIE. 

That if an impudent fellow 
Asked any questions, I must tell him 

MUNGO. 

What? 
I knew you'd tell me. 

BUCKIE. 

That he was an ass, 
And should keep all his breath to cool his porridge. 

[Exit. 

MUNGO. 

Breath ! — porridge ! — in your teeth, you saucy knave ! 

[Exit. 



SCENE II. — A wood in Laichmont. 

Madeleine — Malcolm. 

madeleine. 
This way it flew. Come, Malcolm ; see how high 
It soars, as if 'twere weary of the world, 
And wished to have a home far up in heaven ! 

MALCOLM. 

Ah ! 'twere a happy bird to win such place, 
And never sink to rugged earth again ! 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 13 

MADELEINE. 

Oh, for a hawk, full suuim'd and high of soar, 

To follow it into the filmy clouds 

And bring it to our feet ! But, well-a-day ! 

We have no hawking now. Five years since, Malcolm, 

Ere you went to St. Andrew's, how we loved 

To watch the quarry as it rose and rose, 

And our strong falcon after it ! But now 

We are so dull and listless. — You've forgotten 

The manege of the hire. I do not think 

You could unstrike the jesses for your life. 

MALCOLM. 

I wish I could as easily unstrike 

The strings that keep my memories in hood, 

And let them down the wind. 

MADELEINE. 

And think no more 
Of the gay time we had when we were young ? 
When we were all alone, with cousin Barton? 
When grandsire was away in foreign climes, 
Far o'er the sea, and we rode forth and hawked, 
And laughed all day ? Would you forget them, Malcolm ? 

MALCOLM. 

I wish I could, my gentle Madeleine, — 

For these bright thoughts come up like sinful visions, 

Conjured by magic to distract the souls 

Of solitary men, in lightless caves, 

Retired to commune with their own sad hearts. 

MADELEINE. 

But, Malcolm, then your heart was never sad ; 
You were the boldest horseman, sped your arrow 
Straighter than all, rode deftliest at the ring, 
And sang the gayest. Wherefore are you changed ? 

MALCOLM. 

You know the reason, thoughtless Madeleine ! 

MADELEINE. 

I don't : I see you're changed. I know not why. 



14 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 



Know you not I have felt the chilling hand 
Of the Archbishop? 

MADELEINE. 

And that saddens you ? 
Dear Malcolm, do not mind my heedless talk, 
I would not make you sad for all the world. 

(She holds out her hand.) 

MALCOLM. 

Would you not ? But — I may not take your hand. 

MADELEINE. 

Why not, dear Malcolm ? Take my hand, I pray you. 

MALCOLM. 

No. 

MADELEINE. 

Malcolm, you are not offended with me? 
I did not mean to vex you. Oh, forgive me ! 
I cannot bear to see you look so sad. 
Will you not take my hand ? 

MALCOLM. 

What ! take your hand ? 
I would — oh, God — no ! I'll not take your hand. 

MADELEINE. 

And we grew up together ! — and at last 
You're angry with me — tell me, tell me, why ? 
Oh ! I'll do anything to please you, Malcolm ; 
Just take my hand, and say that you forgive me ! 

MALCOLM. 

Madeleine, if I were to touch your hand — 
If — but — I tell you — no, no, never more ! 

(He covers his face with his hands.) 

Enter James, disguised in a common travelling dress, 
resisting robbers. 



Down with him ! 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 15 

JAMES. 

Easier said than done, my friend ! 
What ho ! 

MADELEINE. 

Help! help! 

Malcolm, (rushing f one ard with his staff.) 

What ! five on one ? Down dogs ! 
And you — and you — ( The robbers are beaten off.) 

JAMES. 

All gone — all gone! i'faith, 
"lis pleasant after-dinner exercise ; 
And you, brave sir — I thank you from my heart ; 
'Twas nobly done — by'r lady — and a youth ! 
Let the knaves go ; they did not fight amiss. 

MALCOLM. 

You are not hurt, sir ? 

JAMES. 

But a bump or so 
On the tough head ; 'tis used to such small coin. 
One fellow came behind me with a staff 
Before I saw him. Let me thank you again 
For timely aid. I would I knew your name, 
That I might name it in my prayers to-night. 

MALCOLM. 

My name is Malcolm Young, commendator 
Of the St. Andrew's Church, a distant kinsman 
To the owner of this ground, Sir Adam Weir; 
This is Sir Adam Weir's of Laichmont Grange. 



Sir Adam Weir ? — a worthy gentleman. 
I feel my wound is heavier than I thought : 
Might I make trespass for an hour or two 
On his kind nature ? 



This, Sir, is his grandchild, 
She'll bid you welcome to her kinsman's house. 



THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 



Madam, I am a stranger in these parts, 

Or surely I should, long ere this, have heard 

The praises of a face so fair as yours. 

Madeleine (in alarm.) 
Oh, Sir, waste not the time in compliment — 
Pray you, come to the house. My cousin, Sir, 
Is skilled in linaments. Support him, Malcolm. 

MALCOLM. 

Lean on my arm. 

JAMES. 

I've felt it's worth before ; 
I hope to pay you fort some other time. ^Exeunt. 



SCENE III. — A Parlour in Laichmonf s House. 

SIR ADAM WEIR WIDOW BARTON. 

Sir Adam is busy arranging a packet — Widow Barton 
has a small pestle and mortar on her knee. 

SIR ADAM. 

A messenger — a faithful messenger. 

Malcolm — he is my kinsman, and a priest ; 

This Mungo — he's a courtier and a fool ; 

If Dacre knew the risk he lays on me 

In traffic with these Lords, he scarce would grudge 

Name, rank, all that I claim, to pay the peril. 

If I can get these missives to the lords, 

And stay this war — by the persuasive tones 

Of English crowns. The risk ! — the risk ! — this day 

A messenger must be found, — or down goes all 

The fabric I have raised, — James will draw sword — 

And I — but 'tis too horrible to think on't. 



I warrant, now, my uncle has some plan — 
Some herb, now, with a crabbed Latin name — 
To mix with this discoction. — He's so glum ! 
I think I'll ask him. — Uncle ! Good Sir Adam ! 



SCENE TII.j THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 



SIR ADAM. 



Ha ! — oh ! 'tis only you — I'm busy, niece. 
Where is your cousin ? — where's my Madeleine ? 



I thought 'twould be about his Madeleine ! 
She's gone out for an hour with Malcolm Young. 

SIR ADAM. 

Good ! I would have her hold his company 
As oft as may be. He is stored with learning, 
And may enrich her mind — a studious youth. 
Tell her, when she returns, I wish to see her. 



It's always so. These wondrous clever people 

Are all alike. And as for Madeleine, 

They'll spoil her : I'm quite sure they'll spoil the girl 

With their fine learning. I never saw any good 

Come of such things. I never knew a word 

Of any tongue but good, plain, honest Scots, 

Nor read a book, nor wrote a single line, 

And I've done very well. I wish the girl 

May do as well, with all her French and Spanish. 

Sir Adam, know you what it is o'clock ? 

The laird will soon be here. 

SIR ADAM. 

I shall be ready. 
To give him welcome. 

WIDOW. 

Is the laird a scholar ? 

SIR ADAM. 

I do not think he is. He never aimed 
At scholarship. 

WIDOW. 

Indeed ? — so much the better — 
Norl. 

SIR ADAM. 

What, did you never ? 
c 



18 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 

WIDOW. 

Never aimed 
At scholarship ; but I'll get ready now 
To see the laird. [Exit Widow. 

SIR ADAM. 

And yet she was the wife — 
This silly, talking, thoughtless, empty thing — 
Of a brave man— a gentleman — as wise 
And deep in counsel, as was e'er a man 
Of Scottish blood ; ay, and he loved her too, 
And knew not, all the time they lived together, 
What a poor doll she was. 'Tis very strange; 
For she had never sense to see his worth, 
And yet she loved him too, after a sort ; 
And she was proud of him — yet knew not why — 
Well ; they were happy. — Why should Madeleine 
Be wretched, if her husband is a fool ? 
I would not have her wretched — not quite wretched. 
But she must wed the heir of rich Laird Small. 
Oh ! she will love him, — perhaps, — as Barton did 
My silly niece, her cousin. Well, I hope so. 

Enter Laird Small. 

LAIRD. 

Give ye good day, Sir Adam. 

SIR ADAM. 

Welcome, Sir, 
Welcome to Laichmont Grange. 

LAIRD. 

A dirt} r day. 
Gadso — a dirty day — and a false mare. 

SIR ADAM. 

I hope no ill has hapt. 

LAIRD. 

A dirty day, 
I tell you. As I came by Whitstone mill, 
I lost the path ; and — I must sell the mare, 
She's a false gipsy — and walked into the ditch, 



SCENE III.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 19 

And never minded how I tugged and pulled — 
She knelt down on her knees, to drink the faster, 
And o'er her head — a false deceitful jade — 
And into the ditch — I'll sell her for ten pounds. 

SIR ADAM. 

Done. I will buy her of you ; fret no more. 

LAIRD. 

English — the pounds were English ! 

SIR ADAM. 

Be it so. 
You're not much hurt ? 



No, no — not hurt ; but spoilt, 
My doublet splashed, and all my new white feather 
Clean lost. My bonnet's like a bantam cock 
Without the tail. 

SIR ADAM. 

I'm glad to see you here, 
And have been thinking over what we said, 
When last we spoke upon a certain matter 
Touching us both. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! and so have I. 

SIR ADAM. 

You see this pictured plan, friend Small ; 'tis drawn 
By a cunning artist. 'Tis our two estates, 
The boundaries, the measurements ; each field, 
Each tree, each ditch. 

LAIRD. 

It is not possible ! 
Gadso ? I had a friend who — let it pass — 
I have forgotten — but he held the pencil, 
And drew and drew — 'twas marvellous how he drew. 
And this is yours and mine ? Gadso ! gadso ! — 
I see. 

SIR ADAM. 

You see where, to the right, it bends — 
c 2 



20 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT I. 

LAIRD. 
Ay, 'tis the Langstone Knowe — I know it well. 
I have a flock there —thirty-five white sheep — 
A goodly flock. 

SIR ADAM. 

And here the river runs ! 



It is the Bourtree barn — the bonny burn! 
Gadso ! he's a rare hand, the planner on't. 

SIR ADAM. 

If the estates were joined, and one sole man 

Could ride round both, and call them all his own, 

Here following up the river to the north, 

The hill along the east, and to the south 

And west the king's high-road — what say you, friend ? 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! 'twere a most pleasant ride. Gadso ! 
'Twould be a square. I would it could be done. 

SIR ADAM. 

It may be done. 

LAIRD. 

I cannot sell the lands — 
Moss Holm is fast entailed 

SIR ADAM. 

Upon your son. 

LAIRD. 

Hoo ! Gadso ! he's a youth ! I say, a youth. 

I'll say no more : there was a friend of mine 

Looked on him once, and said, " Friend Small," he said, 

" Your son is such a youth !" And so he is — 

He's such a youth. 

SIR ADAM. 

I've never had the pleasure 



To see him yet. 



SCENE III.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 21 

LAIRD. 

Oh ! he is well worth seeing : 
A goodly youth — not tall, not very tall — 
But stout — exceeding stout — and waits at court — 
A courtly gentleman ; the King admires him, 
And loves him much — a very proper man, 
My son, young Mungo Small. 

SIR ADAM. 

I doubt it not ; 
And if you're fixed on what we settled last, 
I will not say you no. My girl is young 
And gentle, as I think — my only heir, 
Since heaven has left me to a childless age, 
After such struggles — both my boys ta'en from me. 

LAIRD. 

I never lost a son — gadso ! I never 

Lost anything I cared for. Hem ! — I'm wrong — 

I am a widower, dear Sir Adam Weir ; 

I lost my wife — it was a grievous loss — 

Which minds me of a merry speech was made 

On the occasion by a friend of mine. 

He said — what was it now? — I don't remember — 

But it was shrewd, — it made us laugh so much ! 

A pleasant wag ! 

SIR ADAM. 

When can I see your son ? 

LAIRD. 

Oh, any time. His month of waiting ends 
This very day. He'll come from Holyrood 
And hurry here. {Enter Madeleine.) 

But here's a pretty maid! 
This is your grandchild, as I think. 

SIR ADAM. 

It is. 
What ails you, Madeleine ? You're pale, you're sad. 

MADELEINE. 

Oh, sir ! a thing has hapt — a man near killed. 



22 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT J. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! 

SIR ADAM. 

What man ? what man ? How mean you, girl ? 

MADELEINE. 

Malcolm and I were walking near the skirt 
Of Langstone planting, when there suddenly 
Rush'd to us a man, resisting the assault 
Of five fierce robbers 

LAIRD. 

Gad ha' mercy ! Robbers ! 

MADELEINE. 

Malcolm rushed forward, and the villains fled. 
But the poor man — a wayfarer he seems — 
Was wounded, and he begged to rest awhile. 

SIR ADAM. 

He's welcome. This is past all suffering : 
That robber grows more daring, day by day. 
You've heard, Laird Small, of Buckie of Drumshorlan 
The reiver 

LAIRD. 

A deil's Buckie ! I can't sleep 
In my own bed anights for thinking of him. 
He minds me 

SIR ADAM. 

Nay, don't tremble, Madeleine ; 
The danger's past. I'll see the stranger's wounds 
Attended to. — Go call my niece, my dear ; 
Let him be taken to the tapestry chamber 
In the north tower. {Exit Madeleine J 

Laird Small, will you go with me ? 



What, I ? and see him die ? — perhaps he'll die ! 

I had a friend — a soldier — ah, I know ! — 

He was a gallant man, and fought at — somewhere, 



SCENE III.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 23 

No matter what 'twas called ; a cannon shot 
Took off his head — and so, poor gentleman, 
He died. Pray Gad, this man do not the same ? 
But if his head's on — yes, yes, I'll go see him. 

SIR ADAM. 

Come, then ! 

LAIRD. 

Oh, after you, Sir Adam ! 



SIR ADAM. 



Come ! 

[Exeunt. 



ACT II. 

SCENE I. — The Tapestry Room at Laichmont. 

James — Madeleine. 

madeleine 
How feel you, Sir ? 

JAMES. 

Confused ; — as if in doubt 
Whether I live on this hard, workday soil, 
Or have already passed the bounds of time 
And have an angel sent to solace me. 

MADELEINE. 

My cousin will be here with drugs, ere long, 
Shall soothe your pain. 

JAMES. 

There are two deep physicians 
To whom I trust my cure, — wise Doctor Time 
And his meek colleague, Patience. If, meanwhile, 
My gentle nurse, you'll let me wind your scarf 



24 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 

Round my shock hairs, 'twill bring such virtue with it 
From touch of your most sweet and piteous bosom, 
That it will soothe the wound more speedily 
Than all the marvels in her skilful hands. 

{He ivinds the scarf around his head.) 

laird, {looking cautiously in.) 
Is the man dead ? — I hope he is not dead — 
I cannot bear to look on a dead man. 
Is he clean gone ? 

james {to Madeleine). 

What scaramouch is this ? 

MADELEINE. 

'Tis the Laird Small ; the owner of Moss-Holm. 

james [aside). 
Oh, father of my wonderful new usher — 
A likely sire of such a learned son ! 

Enter Sir Adam Weir. 



I fear your speech may hurt the wounded man — 
You find the noise too much, Sir? — 

JAMES. 

Yes; the voice 
Of the old Merry- Andrew is too sharp. 

SIR ADAM. 

Sir ! you mistake — he is a gentleman. 

JAMES. 

Oh, cry you mercy ! I thought he was a clown, 
Sent forward by some wandering mountebank. 

SIR ADAM. 

Hush ! speak more low. You're not much hurt, I hope ? 

JAMES. 

Not quite enough to mind me of a priest — 
A little too much to mind me of a play. 



SCENE J.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 25 

SIR ADAM. 

Oh ! rest and time will set you up again. 

{To Laird Small.) 
Retire you now, Laird Small, — I'll hold some speech 
Apart with him, and join you by-and-by. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! it is not safe ; if he should die, 

'Twould frighten you for life. — Pray you, good Sir, 

Don't die till we've had notice^ I once knew 

A man — but well, I hope you'll join us soon. 

Don't die, good stranger — come, my pretty one ! 

[Exeunt Laird and Madeleine. 

SIR ADAM. 

Are you of Scotland, friend ? 

JAMES. 

No need ask that, 
If you but hear the music of my voice, 
And see the graceful rounding of my cheek. 
Oh, yes ; I'm Scotch enough ! 

SIR ADAM. 

I saw at a glance 
You were no Frenchman ! 

JAMES. 

No, i'faith— not I ; 
My foot's a little too heavy ; — no, Sir, nothing 
But a plain Scot — and honest, as times go. 

SIR ADAM. 

You look so, Sir ! 

JAMES. 

Looks are deceitful, Sir ; 
I rede you trust them not ! 

SIR ADAM. 

A brave-tongued knave! — 
And were you travelling all alone, my friend, 
When this befel ? 



26 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 

JAMES. 
Yes, all alone ; intent 
For Stirling, on some business of my own. 

SIR ADAM. 

Of weight, perhaps? 

JAMES. 

Ay, business of such weight 
That I could trust no hand with it but my own. 

SIR ADAM. 

A friend, perhaps, might aid you — 

JAMES. 

Well — a friend ! 
There is no saying what a friend might do. 
But, I make little doubt the quest I'm on 
Will prosper as it is ! 

SIR ADAM. 

I have some power — 
Some influence in the realm, and may give help 
If you require it. 

JAMES. 

Sir, you're passing kind, 
And it may chance that I require your help 
In what I aim at. 

sir adam (aside). 

If I could gain him now 
To bear my message ! — And your home, you say, 
Is Stirling ? 

JAMES. 

Sometimes. 

SIR ADAM. 

Or was't Edinburgh ? 

JAMES. 

Sometimes there, too. 

SIR ADAM. 

A wanderer, I perceive: 
Have you crossed sea? 



THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 27 



This fellow questions hard. 
Oh, yes ; I've been a rover, wet and dry, 
And can trim sail, and hand, and reef, and steer, 
With e'er a skipper in Leith. 

SIR ADAM. 

A trader, Sir ? 



In most things — from sweet looks to a true friend, 
To a sword point held to an enemy's throat. 

SIR ADAM. 

I like sweet looks best — Did you travel far 

In other lands? For wines, perhaps, to the South? 



Ay, Sir : I've seen the walls of Bordeaux town 
Rise 'mid rich vineyards on the shores of France, 
And the whole land lie like a perfumed bride 
On her green couch, with birds for choristers, 
And a blue sky, unknown to this cold clime, 
Hung over like a gorgeous canopy. 



You speak like a brave stringer of rich words- 
A poet, as I may say. 



I've tried it, Sir ; 
But poetry's a poor trade, and only fit 
For white hands and weak heads. 

SIR ADAM. 

You're libellous 
On our good king : he rhymes, you know. 

JAMES. 

Oh, does he? 
I hope, sir, he rhymes well. 



28 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 

SIR ADAM. 

I'm not a critic, 
But I have heard some men of good repute 
For wit and judgment 

JAMES. 

Well, what said they ? — quick ! 

SIR ADAM. 

Men that knew what the tricks of rhyming were 

JAMES. 

Well, well — they praised the verses? 

SIR ADAM. 

They ? not they ! 

JAMES. 

Why, what the devil — but — go on, go on! 

SIR ADAM. 

You're pleased to see a brother rhymster mock'd — 
Another proof you're of the poet's tribe. 

james {aside). 
Why, what a twaddling, sensible old fool ! 
This is no traitor. Ah, sir, Poesy 
Holds no communion with such thoughts as these. 
In her enchanted garden, 'mid the flowers, 
Grows no base thing ; but in the balmy air, 
Walking, as angels walked in Paradise, 
Hope, and her sister, white-robed Charity, 
Move onward, circled by the arms of Love ! 
The poet — but, grace Marie ! what an ass 
To talk of Paradise and jangling stuff. 
Forgive it, sir. 

SIR ADAM. 

There's nothing to forgive. 
It's pretty, very pretty — not quite plain 
To dull old ears like mine, but pretty, pretty ! 
{Aside.) The very man I prayed for — all is safe. 
I think your talents have been wasted, sir, 
In voyaging to France, and back again ; 
You should to court. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 2 

JAMES. 
To court ? — we're coming on, — 
Sir, I've no patron. 

SIR ADAM. 

Yes, my friend, you have. 
I have some power at Holyrood myself. 

JAMES. 

Indeed ? 

SIR ADAM. 

Why, yes ; between ourselves, my friend, 
There are a dozen — ay, a score of the lords, 
Fast friends of mine. 

JAMES. 

A score ! 

SIR ADAM. 

Ay; all of them. 
Why, there's not one that would not hold him bound 
To do my bidding. You shall see their zeal 
To serve you, when they know you come from me. 

JAMES. 

Not one — not one left out ! Now, by my life, 
I warn you, say not so. 

SIR ADAM. 

Why not, my friend ? 

JAMES. 

For, by the heaven ! — nay, nay, — Excuse me, sir, 
You raise my hopes too high. 

SIR ADAM. 

No whit, no whit : 
Name any name you please — I'll answer for it; 
His lordship, though he holds his head as high 
As a crown'd king's, if I but say the word, 
Will fawn on you like a spaniel. 

JAMES. 

Now, beware, 
I tell you these are dangerous boasts 



30 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 

SIR ADAM. 

But try it. 
I have a packet, even now prepared 
For certain of their lordships. 

JAMES. 

Which of them ? 
For, as my soul shall answer — there again ! 
I'm all in such a twitter of wild hopes: 
All ? — did you say all ? — oh, say not all ! 



Why not ! 

JAMES. 

Nothing — pray pardon me again. Not all — 
They can't be all at your proud beck — not all ! 

SIR ADAM. 

Oh, yes, they are, though, — all to do you service, 
If you will take that packet to the court. 

JAMES. 

I? — Take the packet? — Sir, I asked it not. 

SIR ADAM. 

You were too bashful. I will bring it to you 
Ere you go hence. 

JAMES. 

I think I've heard the name 
Of the lord — but his name escapes me now — 
Seton — Lord Seton, is he in the list ? 
Is there a missive to Lord Seton ? 

SIR ADAM. 

Seton — 
Oho ! you've heard of Seton — though he's so near 
The throne, Sir, let me tell you, ere long time 
There may be one to him; — a little bird 
Has whistled in my ear. — Be not afraid, 
You shall hear more. 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 31 

JAMES. 
And so shall you ! — But, James — 
Have you no packet for our lord the king ? 

SIR ADAM. 

No. — He's a brother bard, and may be jealous — 
Let him not see you in the court. 

JAMES. 

I'll do 't 
Give me the packet. 

SIR ADAM. 

In an hour or two. 
Meanwhile, refresh you, will you forth for air ? 
My kinsman, Malcolm, will attend on you — 
You'll find him on the lawn. 

JAMES. 

I long to thank him 
For his good service — (aside.) — Oh, suspicious doubts 
Be hush'd — be hushed ! — the truth will out ere long. 

\_Exeunt. 



SCENE II.— The Lawn at Laichmont. 
Enter Malcolm Young, with a book. 

MALCOLM. 

It tells me to forget the word ; — forget ! 

Why tell me not to cease to live and think ? 

To struggle with my heart. Do I not struggle ? 

Have I not striven, and toiled, and wept, and prayed ; 

And all in vain ! — oh, to be doomed to live 

For self, apart from life's soft charities — 

No hope — no object ! (Reads.) 

Enter behind, James and Madeleine. 

MADELEINE. 

I have a mind to try 
To make him gay. Shall I put both my hands 
Before his eyes, and cry, Who blinds — who blinds ? 



32 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 

JAMES. 
He cannot miss the voice ! 

MADELEINE. 

Oh, he's so dull, 
You shall not get a smile into his face, 
Nor smoothe his brow by all that you can do. 

JAMES. 

Nay, I need hardly try, if you have failed, 
But I can scarce believe there breathes the man, 
The stock, the stone, that would not feel the power 
Of words like yours. Why, the dull night as well 
Might try to keep its gloom on, when the day 
Laughs from the east. He must be cold as ice. 
Harder than steel, that melts not at such looks : 
Try him again. 

MADELEINE. 

Oh, no ! I scarce can venture : 
He looks with such sad melancholy eyes, 
I almost grow as sorrowful as himself. (Sighs.) 

JAMES. 

Do you ? — I'll see what efforts I can make 
To chase his sadness. 

MADELEINE. 

Do, and I'll be by 
To aid you. Oh! I wish you had known him, Sir, 
Before he thought of turning priest. 

JAMES. 

A priest ! — 
He's a good soldier spoilt. I'll speak to him. 

MADELEINE. 

And I'll wait here. 

JAMES. 

Good morrow, master Young ; 
You look as if the thumps you gave the sculls 
Of Buckie's band lay heavy on your conscience. 

MALCOLM. 

No, Sir. I'm glad to see you in such case. 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. C 

JAMES. 
I'm sorry to see you, Sir, in such case : 
You have no dint upon your head, I trust? 

MALCOLM. 

No. 

JAMES. 

Then your trusty staff played sentinel 
To a good tune, and heartily I thank you. 

MALCOLM. 

No thanks. 

JAMES. 

Yes, many thanks ; thanks warm and true. 
I must pledge faith with you. 

MALCOLM. 

Oh, pardon, Sir, 
'Twas nothing. 

JAMES. 

And you won't shake hands with me ? 

MALCOLM. 

Oh, willingly! 

JAMES. 

Well, now we're plighted friends, 
I cannot bear to see you moping thus. 

MALCOLM. 

Oh, Sir, it — I am very 

JAMES. 

Tush, man, tush ! — 
You're wretched— very wretched ; what's the matter ? 
Is not your kinsman kind ? 

MALCOLM. 

Yes ; he is kind. 

JAMES. 

Have you no powerful friend to plead your cause, 
And raise you in the church ? 



34 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 

MALCOLM. 
I would not rise ; 
I tell you, sir, I have no wish to rise ; 
Enough that I am in the church without 
Being raised ; I would not have a powerful friend 
To plead my cause. 

JAMES. 

Oh. 

MALCOLM. 

If Sir Adam Weir 
Had deigned to ask my thoughts, — but no — no — no — 
He used the power, wrung from my poverty — 
My orphan youth, — but I am wrong — most wrong — 
I pray you ask no more, Sir, of my doings ; 
If I have served you, let your gratitude — 
Though such I claim not, — let it show itself 
In silence. I would have my grief remain 
In my own breast. 

JAMES. 

Ah ! but that were unkind 
To friends like me ; for, trust me, though so short 
The date of our acquaintance, it has grown 
At once to friendship. 

MALCOLM. 

But I know you not — 
I never saw you till an hour ago. 

JAMES. 

Oh ! — so suspicious ? Look on me, my friend — 

See you a lurking devil in my eyes ? 

I tell you I would serve you if I could, 

And sympathy is all that I can offer. 

Reject it not. I'm but a simple yeoman ; 

But I would know your grief, if happily 

I might relieve it. If it come to the worst, 

I can but share it. Come, come ! hide no more 

The sorrow that consumes you. Bring the snake 

Forth from the hole where it but gathers venom ! — 

Out on the sunny grass with the vile thing ! 

We'll stamp it into powder with our heels. 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 
MALCOLM. 

Why — I — I have no sorrow to reveal. 



You have. But if you trust not to ray words, 
And scorn ray friendship 

MALCOLM. 

Oh, forgive me, Sir ; 
My heart was full. I do not scorn your friendship, 
God knows the name of friendship is too sweet 
To be thrown by. Oh, Sir, your pardon ! Here 
Is my true hand. I thank you from my heart. 

JAMES. 

Now, then, 'tis as I thought. You'll not repent 
Your trusting me. 

MALCOLM. 

There's something in your eye 
Moves confidence. I love the very sound 
Of your bold voice. You have no gloomy thoughts — 
All's sunshine round, above, before you. 

JAMES. 

Ah! 
You know not — but— enough ! Poor Malcolm Young ! 
Tell me what weighs so heavy on your heart. 

Madeleine {behind). 
Now I shall hear what makes poor Malcolm sad. 

MALCOLM. 

Sir, 'tis but three weeks since that I came home — 

Home ! no, I dare not call it home, — came here ; — 

After long tarrying at St. Andrew's schools, 

By order of my kinsman, at the last 

A month since, — 'tis one little month ago. 



Go on, go on ! 

MADELEINE. 

Now comes the hidden grief. 
d2 



36 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 



He forced me by deceitful messages 
To vow me to the priesthood, when my soul 
Long'd more for neighing steeds than psalteries. 
Oh, what a happy fortune had been mine ' 
To draw the sword 'neath gallant James's eye, 
And rouge it to the hilt in English blood ! 



God bless you, boy ! — your hand again — your hand !- 
Would you have served the king ? 



MALCOLM. 



Ay ! died for him ! 



And he'd have cherished you, believe me, boy, 
And held you in his heart, and trusted you — 
And you'd ha' been true brothers ; — for a love 
Like yours is what poor James has need of most. 
Is this your grief? 

MALCOLM. 

Alas, my grief lies deeper ! 
I might have bent me to my cruel fate 
With pray'rs that our brave king find Scots as true, 
And worthier of his praise, than Malcolm Young. 
When I came back, I had not been a day 
'Mid well-known scenes, in the remembered rooms, 
Till to my heart, my soul, the dreadful truth 
Was opened like a gulf; and I — fool ! fool ! 
To be so dull, so blind — I knew too late 
That I was wretched — miserable — doomed 
Like Tantalus, to more than hellish pains — 
To feel — yet not to dare to speak, or think ; 
To love — and be a priest ! 



MADELEINE. 

To love ! to love !- 



How strange this is ! 



JAMES. 

How found you this, poor friend ? 



SCENE IT.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS 37 

MALCOLM. 

By throbbings at the heart, when I but heard 
Her whisper'd name ; thoughts buried long ago 
'Neath childish memories — we were children both — 
Rose up like armed phantoms from their grave, 
Waving me from them with their mailed hands ! 
I saw her, with the light of womanhood 
Spread o'er the childish charms I loved so well — 
I heard her voice, sweet with the trustful tones 
She spoke with long ago, yet richer grown 
With the full burden of her ripened thoughts. 

MADELEINE. 

My head goes round — my heart will burst ! 

MALCOLM. 

I saw 
A world lie open,- — and an envious spell 
Fencing it from me ; day by day, I felt 
Grief and the blackness of unsunn'd despair 
Closing all round me. 

JAMES. 

And the maiden's name ? 

MALCOLM. 

Was Madeleine Weir. 

(Madeleine recoils, and leans for support on the side scene.) 
james (goes to Madeleine). 

You're faint ; you're deadly pale ! 

MADELEINE. 

'Tis nothing, — 'twas a pain — a sudden pang 
Shot through my head — but, I am better now, 

MALCOLM. 

She was not listening ! 

MADELEINE, 

No; I heard nothing— nothing; 
'Twill soon be gone. I pray you leave me now — 
I'm strong— I'm strong I (She tries to walk, but sinks.) 
Help, Malcolm !— I am dying ! 



38 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 

james {catches her ere she falls). 
Run, run for aid ! and come not back again — 
Perhaps she heard you. T will guard her here. 

MALCOLM. 

Help, help ! for Madeleine — help, Widow Barton ! 

[Exit Malcolm. 

JAMES. 

Wake, Madeleine — he's gone. 

MADELEINE. 

Who ? Malcolm gone ? 



Look not so wildly ! 

MADELEINE. 

What was it I said ? 
Did he hear aught, or see me — how I fell. 



No, no ; he heard you not — come, cheer you, lady, 
W T hat can I say to cheer her ? — Droop not so, 
There shall come happier days. 

MADELEINE. 

Oh ! never, never ! 



Ay, but there shall though ! — Gather up your heart, 
And brace you for a struggle with your grief. 
What ! — hopelessness sit on a brow like this — 
And sorrow blight the roses on these lips ? 
I tell you — do not sigh, poor Madeleine — 
I tell you — nay, I lay command on you, 
Start not that I command — I tell you, hope ! 
By heaven ! I'd trample on all laws in the world 
That bring such sorrow. 



I guess how kind you are 



MADELEINE. 

Oh, Sir, by your voice 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 39 



Ay, kind and true — 
And you shall never know me aught than kind. 
So, cheer you, Madeleine ! 

MADELEINE. 

Oh, Sir, I'm weak ! 
A moment with myself would strengthen me, — 
I think I'm better now. 

JAMES. 

Come, lean on me ! 

MADELEINE. 

No, no ; I'd be alone ! 

JAMES. 

. Then droop not, girl ; 
'Tis a black night that lets no starlight through ; 
And so I leave you. — Ah, I see it all, 
A hapless pair that knew not their own hearts, 
And pay the forfeit of their ignorance 
In tears. [Exit James. 

MADELEINE. 

For me ! — for me ! — and I, the while 
So giddy — cruel — ne'er to see his love 
Was other than in days of our glad youth ! 
And blinder, colder, ne'er to feel that here, 
In my deep, inmost heart there was enshrined 
His image ! — oh, and it is sinful now ! 
He dare not love ! I dare not love him more ! 
And all the happiness I felt to see him, 
To speak to him, to wander by his side 
I thought was but our friendship, as of old 
Long years since. And 'tis all for me he mourns !— 
Hopeless ! — oh, wherefore have I heard his secret 
And wherefore have I found my own ? 

Enter Sir Adam Weik. 

SIR ADAM. 

My child 
I told you that my worthy friend, Laird Small 
Had honoured me by making choice of you 
To wed his son. I've given him my consent ; 



40 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT II. 

And in a little time, the gallant youth 
Will pay his court ; — no blushes — no denials — 
You marry him. I've said it. That's enough ! 
You'll be prepared to smile upon his suit. 

MADELEINE. 

I Sir ! I 

SIR ADAM. 

Let me see no foolish qualms ; 
He is a gay and courtly gentleman, 
And rich as any noble in the land. 

MADELEINE. 

Sir !— 

SIR ADAM. 

Not a word ; make ready to receive him, 
He will be here anon. 

MADELEINE. 

I'm weak — I'm ill — 
I cannot see him. 

SIR ADAM. 

Cannot see my friend ? 
The man I've chosen ? let me hear no more 
Of idle feints. If you're unkind to him, 
Or pout, or knit your brows, or play the fool, 
You shall repent it ! — Get you to your room, 
And do as I tell you. [Exit Madeleine. 

I have never loved 
A thing on earth as I have loved that girl, 
Since my two sons and her poor mother died. 
But I will not be mock'd. 

Enter Laird and Mungo. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! Sir Adam, 
We are in luck ; here is my son arrived. 
This is Sir Adam, son ; — this is my son, Sir. 

MUNGO. 

Give ye my finger. Any news afloat ? 

The French ain't landed, are they ? What a doublet 

You've got, Sir Adam ! This is Genoa pile. 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 

SIR ADAM. 

I'm glad to bid you welcome to my house. 

MUNGO. 

'Tis pretty well ; but not quite Holyrood. 
That window's not in keeping with the door ; 
The pediment — the peristyle — the plinth — 
The whole facade's a little incongruous, eh ? 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! he speaks like a huge book of plans! 
I knew a man 

MUNGO. 

Hush, father ! never mind 
What man you knew. Is the report correct 
The English have a force upon the border? 



I know not. 

LAIRD. 

Oh, but he knows everything. 
Pray Gad you knew one half as much as he ! 
Where he can hold his knowledge is a puzzle ; 
His head should be as big as Binny Craig. 

MUNGO. 

'Twould make my hat cost something. How d'ye like 
My bonnet ? 'tis the newest cut from Paris. 

SIR ADAM. 

'Tis a good bonnet. 

MUNGO. 

Do you like the feather ? 
I chose the feather : 'tis a knowing feather ; 
A sort of bold, audacious, fighting feather ; 
'Tis a cock's feather ; do you like the feather ? 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! he has more taste than twenty hatters, 
I like to hear him talk about his clothes, 
It smacks so of the court. 



No ! I've not heard. 



THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT.II. 

MUNGO. 

Heard you the news ? 

SIR ADAM. 
LAIRD. 



Gadso ! he's such a youth ! 
A politic youth. He'll be a — what d'ye call it 
That sits at council, and does nought all day ? — 
A minister of state ! — he will, I'm sure. 

MUNGO. 

There must be something very curious 

In Germany at present. It portends 

No good. The ambassador has dressed his suite 

In green. Can there be any reason for it ? 

In green ! A suite in green ! I think 'tis odd. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! perhaps it is. Perhaps, 'tis odd ! 
I had a green coat once ; 'tis long ago 

mungo (stojis his mouth). 
Excuse my father, Sir; he was ne'er at court, 
And can know nothing about politics. 



SIR ADAM. 



'Tis a deep study. 



MUNGO. 

You may say so, truly ; 
Jemmy comes often ; ay, sometimes at night, 
To ask my counsel — 

SIR ADAM. 

Jemmy ! who is he ? 

MUNGO. 

Jemmy ! why, Jemmy Stuart ! We're such friends, 
We never stand on one another's titles ; 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 

Jemmy and Mungo ! nothing more or less ; 
He never called me mister in his life. 



Hem ! — Will you walk into my house, Laird Small ? 
And you, Sir? There is wine set in the parlour; 
You must refresh you. 

Widow (behind the scenes). 

Where is she ? Where's the girl ? 
Where's Madeleine ? 

Enter Widow Barton, in a hurry, with a glass on a 
salver, in search of Madeleine. 



I've got it ready now ; 
Take but the glass ; don't wait a single minute ! 
Off with it ! 

(Laird Small takes the glass and drinks.) 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! I'm a murdered man ! 
Why, what the devil ! 

WIDOW. 

Why, you've drunk it, Sir ! 
I wished you to run with it to my cousin, 
Poor Madeleine ! She is fainting ! 

LAIRD. 

I'm a corpse ! 
I feel I'm dead. Gadso ! my liver boils ! 
My reinu ! — my kidneys ! — What the devil was it ? 



'Twas a confusion of hot volatiles 

And liquid hartshorn ! 'Twas for smelling, Sir. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! — oh, Lard ! I feel I'm in my grave ! 



44 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT III. 

I would have rather suck'd a burning coal 

Like sugar candy. 'Twas a melted colic ! 

I've swallowed it. Gadso ! there was a man 

Ate fire ; and — ugh ! — ugh ! — I have done the same ! — 



Why, father ; what a fuss you make about it ! 
Come hither, Sir. 

SIR ADAM. 

The wine is in the hall. 

mungo (to Widow Barton). 
Let me conduct you, madam ? 



He's a youth ! 

[Exeunt. 



ACT III. 

SCENE I.— The front of Laickmont House. 
James and Buckie. 

JAMES. 

What make you here, friend? 

BUCKIE. 

Does your Majesty 

JAMES. 

Hush ! We're no majesty away from court. 

BUCKIE. 

Pardon me. Is Sir Adam as I said ? 

JAMES. 

I'll tell you what I think of him ere long, — 

Not now — not now. But wherefore came you here ? 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMON?. 



To plead for pardon that I came too late 
To guard you from the lawless violence — 



Of Buckie — ere another week be sped 
His head shall ornament the Tolbooth bars. 
I thank you, friend ; another came to aid, 
One Master Young. 

BUCKIE. 

A kinsman of this house — 
A priest, as I've been told. Poor Malcolm Young ! 
He suffers like the rest 

JAMES. 

The rest of whom ? 

BUCKIE. 

Of all Sir Adam claims as kith or kin. 
I knew another kinsman — a poor youth, 
Whose father dying, left him to the care 
Of his rich brother ; store of lands and gold 
Went with the orphan to Sir Adam's ward. 
The orphan lives ; the lands and gold are gone 
To add another hillock to the mountain 
The usurer has heaped up. 

JAMES. 

The orphan lives? 
How gained Sir Adam all the orphan's wealth ? 



By a false will — by an extorted gift ; 

By threats, by stratagem, by forced consent. 

I know him well. 

JAMES. 

Where lives the orphan youth ? 

BUCKIE. 

Nowhere ; he has no house save the huge home 
Roofed by o'erarching Goodness, for the poor; 



46 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT 1IT. 

He sleeps upon the moor — beside the hedge, 
Under the wall ; an outcast, broken man. 



JAMES. 

How can all this be proved ? 



Why, face to face — 
The accuser and the accused ; but in this realm 
Wealth has such power, it adds another fold 
To the thick bandage over Justice' eyes, 
Blunts her sword point, and makes unfixed her scale. 



It shall not, as I live ! Her eyes shall be 

Free from the thinnest veil of gossamer — 

Her sword shall be as trenchant as my own— 

Her scales as equal between rich and poor 

As light or cold. But I will hold you bound 

To give consistence to these dark appeals, 

That rise like clouds between Sir Adam's fame 

And his King's favour. Sir, you saved my life ; 

But if you wrong my subject, by the heaven 

'Neath which we live, the saints that from their thrones 

Send help to the bared arm of righteous kings ! 

I swear your head shall be the forfeiture 

Of failure in your proof! 



BUCKIE. 

Agreed — agreed ! 



You'll see him as he is. 



Your words are strong, 
As if they sprang from truth. I came to prove 
Sir Adam Weir ; through him to reach the hearts 
Of higher men. The saddest heart alive 
Would be as careless as a lark's in June 
Compared to mine, if what my fear portends 
Proves true. Sir Adam Weir has wealth in store - 
Is crafty, politic, and is of weight — 
The words are his — with certain of our lords. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 



I told you so. I know he has deep dealings 
With 

JAMES. 

Name them not ; from their own lips I'll hear 
Their guilt ; no other tongue shall blot the fame 
Of James's nobles. If it should be so ; 
If the two men I've trusted from my youth — 
If Hume — if Seton — let the rest go hang! 
But Seton, my old playmate — if he's false, 
Then break, weak heart ; farewell my life and crown ! — 
I pray you meet me here within an hour 
This very night ; I shall have need of you. 
And as you speak as one brave man should speak 
To another man, albeit he is a king, 
I will put trust in you ; and, ere the morn, 
You shall impeach Sir Adam in our court, 
And woe betide the guilty. Say no more ; 
I meet you here again. 

BUCKIE. 

If I appear 
At Holyrood, I trust your royal word 
No ill shall hap me. I am free to come, 
To go? 

JAMES. 

Not so, by heaven ! If you should fail, 
You die. 

BUCKIE. 

I know it ; but your royal safeguard 
Bars me from other dangers ? 



You've my word — 
You have my hand ; the honour of a king, 
The promise of a man. Come boldly on. 
Though you were stained with murder double dark» 
You shall have free departure from our court. 

BUCKIE. 

But if I prosper in my proof, I claim 
Reward. 



THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 

JAMES. 
It shall be yours. 



Oblivion 
Of all I may have done ; and, better far, 
Permission to draw sword at James's call, 
And die, if there be need, at James's side. 



Go, go ! I pray you may succeed, good fellow ! 

Poor James can ill afford so stout an arm. 

Go, now ; I'll call you when I've seen Sir Adam. 

[Exit Buckie. 
Thus ever from the true heart of the Commons 
Wells up pure love and loyal faithfulness, 
While in the bosom of our lords such stream 
Is choked, or turbid, or runs quickly dry. 

Enter Sir Adam Weir. 

sir ADAM. 
Good master — but I have not asked your name. 



Albyn — James Albyn. 



sir ADAM. 



Here is a sealed up packet, 
Go with it, as you promised, to the court. 
The King will be in Holyrood three days 
Assembling forces on the Boroughmuir. 
The nobles will be all in Edinburgh : 
Open this roll, and as occasion serves, 
Deliver to each peer whose name is in it 
The note enclosed — 'twill gain you noble friends — 
And bring me answer. 



Good Sir Adam Weir, 
I trust there is no treason in this charge ? 



THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 49 

SIR ADAM. 



Treason ! What's treason ? If some politic lords 
Find a repugnance in their Christian hearts 
Against the war, and long for blessed peace 



Who made them judges or of peace or war ? 
The country has been trod 'neath English heels. 

Sill ADAM. 

So says the fiery King ; but wiser men 
Would rather see the heel upon the soil 
That leaves a mark of gold where it is placed, 
Than risk their lives and fortunes at the beck 
Of choleric James, and angry France and Rome. 

JAMES. 

Now, by the saints ! — but, no ; I will not speak. 



Why, friend, what matters it to you and me ? 
You shall have rich reward ; and for myself, 
My payment will be found in a pure heart 
And conscience clear. 

JAMES. 

In an axe-blade, perhaps, 
Or a sword's edge, or — faugh ! — a yard of rope. 
I take the packet. 

SIR ADAM. 

Do ; and fare-you-well. 

{Exit Sir Adam. 

JAMES. 

Shall I break ope the seals, and see at once 
Who are the enemies I've nursed and fed ? 
They find repugnance in their Christian hearts 
To war ! — they find a longing in their hearts 
For English gold. But if the few I love — 
The two brave hearts that I have trusted ever — 
Are true to me, as I have been to them, 
Then let the traitors range themselves at once 
On Henry's side, and join the Douglases, 
The curses ever of our kingdom's strength ; 



50 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT III. 

I'll meet them in the field ! But first, I'll fling- 
Scorn and dishonour on their recreant heads ; 

This roll shall be brought forward in full court, 
And the same bold accuser that lays bare 
The crimes of this wise trickster, shall appeal 
The false, base lords. — Their hearts! their Christian 
hearts ! 

Enter Buckie. 



I've watched his going. 

JAMES. 

Take the packet, sir ! 
At vesper chime to-night we hold our court; 
Come to us then ; present this in our presence 
Boldly ; heed not the frowning of our lords. 
By Heaven — if 'twere our brother or our son 
That owned the dealing, he should taste the axe ! 
At the first chiming of the vesper bell 
I wait you. Answer not, but meet me then. [Exeunt. 



SCENE II. — A room in Laichmont House. 

Sir Adam Weir. — Madeleine. 

{During this scene, Sir Adam struggles to repress his rage.) 

SIR ADAM. 

And was I harsh to my poor Madeleine ? 
It is my love that makes me harsh to you. 
You know I love you — that I've ever loved you; 
And trust me, 'tis because I love you still, 
I would constrain you to your happiness. 

MADELEINE. 

There is no happiness on earth for me. 

SIR ADAM. 

Come, speak not so ! I'm three-score years and five ; 
My hair is white, my eyes are growing dim ; 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 61 

My strength is wasted in the toils I've past 
To make you happy. You're the richest heiress 
In all the county. After all I've done, 
You will not see me wretched ? 

MADELEINE. 

If my death 
Could make you happy, I would give my life, 
And bless you as I die. 

SIR ADAM. 

Tush ! not your life, 
It is your hand I want. I wish to see 31011 
The Lady of the Land ; to see you placed 
On such a pinnacle of wealth and greatness, 
That you may look with pity on the pride 
Of starveling earls. Why, girl, you shall be girt 
With one rich belt of glittering diamonds, 
That might pay armies in an emperor's quarrel. 
You shall have gold and jewels ; and the looms 
Of Genoa shall groan beneath the weight 
Of richest robes to deck your loveliness. 

MADELEINE. 

The painted sepulchre of a breaking heart. 

SIR ADAM. 

Heart ? breaking heart ? — who spoke of breaking hearts ? 

MADELEINE. 

I did. 

SIR ADAM. 

Be silent ! — but, dear Madeleine, 
You would not see my white hairs in the dust 
Before you, to entreat you to be kind. 
'Tis I, your grandsire — your poor, kind, old grandsire. 
You'll yield ? you'll marry as I ask you ? 

MADELEINE. 

Marry ? 
I marry ? — oh, sir, have some touch of pity ; 
My head is weak ; I feel not as I used — 
There is a weight about my heart. Oh, spare me 
Speak not of marrying. 

E 2 



52 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT III. 

SIR ADAM. 

Girl ! — but — no, dear child, 
What change has come upon } ? our joyous mood ? 
'Twas only yesterday I watched your step, 
The gayest step that ever fell, like light 
Upon the bended grass ; your voice was sweet 
With the heart's laughter. Wherefore are you changed ? 

MADELEINE. 

Something — no, nothing; I was foolish then— 
I had no thought. Oh, sir, I'd wish to live 
In old St. Ninian's, 'mid the holy nuns, 
In some calm cell, afar from busy sounds, 
With but my book and beads — to live and weep ; 
To gaze from the lone casement to the sky, 
Where angels live and are at rest for ever ; 
And pray to be like them. Sir, let me go ! 



What madness has possessed you ? Hear me, girl : 

There's something in this change — I know not what ; 

But it boots nothing whatsoe'er it be. 

You shall not to St. Ninian's ; it was not 

To heap up wealth for a complaining nun 

I ran such ventures ; risk'd my life so often. 

My soul, my very soul ! I would be kind, 

I try to speak with kindness! {After an effort.) I am kind- 

I'm in no passion ; I am calm, you see. 

Well then, if you obey not, you shall starve ; 

Though you come begging for a crust of bread, 

Shivering across the moor, and hold your hand, 

Your withered, shaking hand, and ope your lips, 

White with despair, and want, and poverty, 

To entreat one crust — one crust to save your life — 

You shall not have it ; you shall starve, and die. 

And now you understand me, what I am : 

Take your own choice ! But, see how calm I am. 

I'll send a friend to counsel you ; he'll tell you 

The sin of disobedience : Malcolm Young 

MADELEINE. 

Not him — not Malcolm Young! 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 53 

SIR ADAM. 

Why not, I pray you ? 
He's a good youth, and yielded to my wish, 
And therefore you despise him. Malcolm Young 
Shall give you counsel ; and if he too fail, 
The failure shall be visited on him ; 
Mark me — on him; if you refuse consent 
He shall be houseless, friendless as yourself. 
Now, then, the fate of both is in your hands. 
I'm calm — I'm very calm ; and Malcolm Young 
Shall be a beggar if you baulk my wish. \_Exit. 

MADELEINE. 

I'll hie me to the monastery door, 
And ask the meek-eyed nuns to take me in ; 
And it shall be my grave ; and the thick walls 
Shall keep me from the world ; and in my heart 
I'll cherish him, and think on all his looks, 
Since we were children — all his gentle tones ; 
And when my weary breast shall heave no more, 
I'll lay me down and die, and name his name 
With my last breath. I would we both were dead, 
For we shall then be happy ; but on earth 
No happiness for me — no hope, no hope ! 

Enter Widow Barton, Laird Small, Mungo. 



Cousin, the gentlemen are come to see you; 

They've drunk your health ; you should be much obliged 

To Mister Small. This is the lady, sir, 

Your young intended. 

MUNGO. 

Very well indeed ; 
True Brussels lace, and — ain't it Venice silk ? 

{Touches Madeleine's gown.') 
I think 'tis Venice silk. I have a doublet 
Of the same piece. How goes it, pretty maid ? 



Gadso ! he's quite a polish'd courtier. 

I wish you joy — you're a most lucky woman. 



54 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT III. 



She courtseys with an air ; though, for my part, 
I like the Spanish swale, as thus, (courtseys) low, low ; 
Not the French dip, as thus, (courtseys) dip, dip ; 
Which think you best? 

MADELEINE. 

Sir ! did you speak to me ? 



Did I ? 'pon honour — yes, I think I did : 

Some like the Austrian bend (courtseys), d'ye like it so ? 

Our girls, the Hamiltons, have got it pat ; 

No sooner do I say, " Sweet Lady Jane," 

And draw my feather so, and place my hand 

Here on my heart, " Fair Lady Jane, how are ye ?" 

But dip she goes, and bend (courtseys ;) but if an ass, 

Some fribble she don't like, comes near her, lo ! 

A swale ! (courtseys,) 'tis very like this gentlewoman. 

I hope there's no one near you, you don't like ? 

For if there is, 'fore gad ! an 'twere my father, 

I'd cut him into slices like cold ham, 

As thin as that. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! pray Gad it ain't ; 
I hope it ain't his father — he would do it ! 
He's such a youth ! 

WIDOW. 

He's a most gallant man ; 
I like to hear about great people's doings. 



Do you ? — a decent woman, for the country ; 
Then I will tell you anything you like. 

WIDOW. 

Tell Madeleine about a tournament. 



Pray do ! Gadso, I love to hear your tales. 
Pray Gad I could be young again! 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 55 

MUNGO. 

Hush, do ; 
You keep the ladies waiting. Well, fair dames, 
The trick is this ; James sends to Hume and me, 
And Seton, and some other cavaliers, 
That he will keep the ring against all comers, 
And Cassilis, Maxwell, Eglinton, and others — 
A famous tilter is Lord Eglinton, 
And noble heart as beats on Scottish ground — 
They send that they will come! 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! — gadso ! 
I knew a Spanish man — I think his name 
Was Don — but what comes after Don— go on 

MUNGO (to MADELEINE.) 

But you don't like to hear of broken bones ! 

WIDOW. 

She does, indeed ! and I delight in it ; 
I've got a dozen cures for broken bones. 

MUNGO. 

Well, then, the day arrives ; we take our places ; 

James in the centre, Sinclair and myself, 

Full arm'd, with spear in rest, and visors down, 

On his right hand ; Hume and Lord Seton ride 

Upon his left. All round us sits the court ; 

The ladies' cheeks all flush'd, or pale by turns, 

As we take one stout gallop round the ring. 

The trumpet sounds four notes — ta ! ra ! — ta ! ra ! — 

And sudden at the further end appear 

Five knights in armour. With their lances' points 

They touch our shields — I should have said our shields 

Hang at the gate — Ha, ha, boys ! — is it so ? 

Spur goes the steed ! — my shield is ringing yet 

From Maxwell's touch ; I brace it on my arm 

The trumpet sounds again — ta ! ra ! ta ! ra ! — 

We stoop our heads — we bend us to the mane, — 

My spear goes into splinters on his mail, 

And, ha! — what's that? — poor Maxwell reels awhile, 

Then plump upon the earth — I've done for him. 



56 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT III 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! I'm in a sweat — a parlous arm — 

You would not think it, ma'am ; to look at him ! 



Oh ! he's a valiant knight. And rides the king 
Like other men ? 



He ought to ride as well — 
Pie's been well taught ! I broke his chestnut horse, 
That was too hard to manage : he rides well ! 
Yes, pretty well ! — I don't like his rein hand, 
He holds it far too low ; but he rides well. 

(To Madeleine.) 
You're not alarmed at what I'm speaking of? 
'Tis all in sport; if 'twere in earnest, ma'am, 
I'd split Lord Maxwell as he were a herring, 
Were he the biggest knight in Christendom. 

WIDOW. 

And do the ladies scream ? 



" Sometimes they do. 
Once ! — 'twas at Stirling — James was in the ring 
And ran with — but I will not mention names — 
The man he ran with, was — but never mind ; 
James came full speed — I never saw a horse 
Spring better ; every breath was hush'd with fear : 
The other man, he rode a Spanish barb, 
Light, fiery, active ; and when James came on 
With lifted sword, I spurr'd on the right side, 
Jink'd so ; and — as he pass'd, with a back hand, 
Clipt his white plume — there was a scream heard then ! 

WIDOW 

Was't you ? were you the man ? 

MUNGO. 

Ha ! said I so ? 
Then it was I ! 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 57 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! he's such a boy ! 
I can't make out where he has learn'd such arts ; 
For ere he went to court, two months ago, 
He could not stick upon a pony's back, 
And would have sooner died than draw a sword ! 

WIDOW. 

People get wondrous knowledge in a court 

LAIRD, 

Gadso! you're right. (To Madeleine.) I think you 

never saw 
A better, or more gallant cavalier 
Than my son, Mungo ! 

MADELEINE. 

Sir! 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! you look 
As if you scarcely heard what we've been saying. 

MADELEINE. 

What is it you would say ? I pray you, Sir ; 
To tell me what you want ? I would begone. 

LAIRD. 

Speak to her, Mungo ; Gadso ! he's a tongue 
Makes way with women. 

MUNGO. 

Don't look at us, then ; 
They're very bashful, these poor country girls. 

LAIRD (to WIDOW). 

Gadso ! — pray ma'am, walk aside with me ; 
He's such a boy ! pray Gad you've such a boy ! 

WIDOW. 

I, Sir ? 

LAIRD. 

If you should wed — come this way, ma'am. 
[^Exeunt Laird and Widow. 



58 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT III. 



They're gone ! we're quite alone ! you may speak out- 

I see you've been impatient to get rid 

Of the old twaddles. Don't be timid, now ; 

There ! — don't be shy — you never saw in your life, 

A man of the court before ! 

MADELEINE. 

Oh, leave me, Sir ! 
If you were man — but you are not a man — 
Or gentleman — or even the thing you seem, 
A courtier, you would leave me. Leave me, Sir ! 

MUNGO. 

What ! when so many robbers are abroad ? 
What if that villain, Buckie of Drumshorlan, 
Forced his way in, and I not here to guard you ? 

MADELEINE. 

I care not though he came. 



Oh, don't you though ? 
No wonder. You need care for nothing now, 
When I am here. They say the rascal wears 
A great wolfs head, and looks with dreadful eyes 
Under its gaping jaws! What step was that? 

Enter Servant* 



Sir, there are strangers seen about the grounds — 
We think they're Buckie's band. Pursue them, Sir ! 

MUNGO. 

Pursue them ? — hark, friend ; have you e'er a garret 
In this old house ? 

SERVANT. 

Yes, Sir. 

MUNGO. 

I've such a sight ! 
I see a hare in her seat ! I'll watch the rogues, 
This way ; are these the stairs ? the general 
Stands always on a hill. 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 59 

SERVANT. 

I cannot wait. 

{Exit Servant, 
mungo. 
Hem ! well — she never looks at me — here goes ! 

[Mungo runs off. 

Enter Malcolm Young. 

MALCOLM. 

Your Grandsire bids me see you, Madeleine ; 

MADELEINE. 

Malcolm ! 

MALCOLM. 

I never wish'd to see you more. 
If we had parted — when we parted last — 
In kindness, I would never more have sought 
Your presence ; never heard your voice again. 
But when you ask'd my hand, I — I — believe me, 
'Twas from no change, no want of true affection — 
'Twas from — 'twas — will you take my hand now, 
Madeleine ? 

MADELEINE. 

Are you about to leave us ? 

MALCOLM. 

Yes, I go 
Where I shall see you, never — never more : 
I go to hide my sorrows. 

MADELEINE. 

Malcolm ! 



Pray you, 
Let me but say farewell — but do not speak — 
Once I could dwell on every word you said, 
And treasure it like a sweet cherished tune 
To be conn'd over in my solitude ; 
But now, I would not hear your voice, nor see 
Your smile 



60 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT III. 

MADELEINE. 

You will not see me smile again ! 



I cannot bear to look upon your face, 

Where I have fed my eyes, dear Madeleine ; 

Do you, remember two long years ago, 

When I was leaving Laichmont, how we walked 

To the Green Den, and how you stoop'd and gather'd, 

Beside the burn, a sprig of blooming heath ? 

MADELEINE. 

Yes! 

MALCOLM. 

Here it is ! I've had it near my heart 
Since then ; and both are withered. Madeleine, 
I ask'd you not to speak, but I am changeful ; 
I'd hear your voice again, for the last time ! 
Say but a word ! 

MADELEINE. 

Oh, Malcolm ! 

MALCOLM. 

Shall I say 
How constantly my thoughts shall rest on you ? 
Ah, Madeleine ! when we used — long, long ago — 
To look up to the moon, as we do now, 
It was with happier eyes. I little knew 
What memories of grief I gathered then, 
To feed on in my heart for evermore ; 
And now ! — God's blessing be around you ever ! 
The blessing of a heart that — fare-you-well ! 

MADELEINE. 

Malcolm ! you leave me, it is come at last ; 

See ! I can bear our parting : thus is broke 

The chain that link'd us from our infancy. 

And here — it is the last time we shall meet 

On this cold earth — though we shall meet again 

There, where the stars are shining calm and clear ! — 

And we are dead to one another, Malcolm ! 

Take with you to your solitude, the thought 

That I — oh, pardon, Heav'n ! if it is sin — 

Have never loved but you — love only you ! — 



SCENE II. J THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 61 

MALCOLM. 
What ! heard 1 right ? You loved me ? love me ? God ! 
This is too much to bear. My fondest hopes 
Reach'd not so high. I was an orphan, poor, 
Unfriended ; I but dared to think of you 
As of some higher nature, till the veil 
Fell from my heart, and — when the vow was spoken, 
And I was — what I am — I knew I loved ! 
Oh, but to dare to love ! — though without hope ! — ■ 
To dare to love, and feel it is no crime ! 
Dearest ! — I know not what I say — once more 
Tell me you love me — no, no ! tell me not ! 
It turns to poison on your lip, and kills. 

MADELEINE. 

Malcolm ! now let us part — as suits us both, 

Calmly — as best beseems our misery. 

Go ; be you happy ! — you cannot be happy — 

I feel it in my heart — but, be at peace. 

I bear my sorrow meekly. On your hand 

I place my lips — I bless you — and farewell ! [Exeunt. 



ACT IV. 

SCENE \.—Holyrood—The King's closet 
Enter an Attendant, conducting Bishop. 

ATTENDANT. 

His grace will not be long ere he returns. 

Please you, be seated. {Exit. 

BISHOP. 

Guard well the prisoner. On the eve of war 

To leave his foes un watched— his very camp 

A scene of treason ; but I've laid my hand 

On every loop in the net. 'Tis like the king — 

Some playful hiding in a burgher suit — 

I thought he had been sobered. That's his step. 



62 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 

Enter James. 

JAMES. 

Ha ! my good lord — but we're unfitly geared 
For shrift and penance ; we have rid for the life 
Up hill — down dale. But you look big with care. 
Out with it ; it will burst you. 

BISHOP. 

It befits 
Neither my years nor my great calling, Sir, 
Nor the meek spirit that should harbour here, 
To mix in the fierce struggles in a court. 



I know you well.. Excuse me, good my Lord, 

If, with the flippant quickness of the tongue, 

I hide the respect and deep reverence 

Which my heart bears to the right reverend virtues 

Of meekness, truth, and most sweet gentleness 

I've ever found in you. 

BISHOP. 

Ah, Sir ! I'm old— 
It may be that my time is nearly done — 
But I would fain, even to the end of my life, 
Bear you true service ; for I've mark'd in you 
Ever, from boyish days, a loving heart — 
Loving, though fiery ; and most merciful — 
Too merciful ! 

JAMES. 

Nay ; not so, my good Lord. 
Ill fares it with kings' swords when the sharp blade 
Shines oftener in the subject's dazzled eyes, 
Than the pearl studded heft and jewell'd sheath. 

BISHOP. 

There may be times when the steel blade is all 
That gives true value to the jewell'd sheath. 

JAMES. 

How mean you? You were my preceptor, Sir — 
Most kind — most wise ; but you have told me often 
I lack'd the bridle, not the spur. 



SCENE I.J THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 



The bridle 
In your wild course of dalliance and deray ; 
The spur in action fitting for a king. 

JA.MES. 

Not so — by Heaven ! not so. Show me the deed 
You'd have me do that's fitting for a king, 
And, though it tore the softest string i' my heart, 
I'll do it. 

BISHOP. 

Prepare you, then ! 

JAMES. 

What is't, I say ? 
You think I have no higher, nobler thoughts, 
Than suit a pageant king on silken throne. 
My Lord, you know me not. 



What would you do 
If treachery 

JAMES. 

Pah ! you know of treachery, too. 
Fear not, my Lord — I'm glad 'twas only that ! 
Whew ! — my mind's easy now. Why, my good Lord, 
I thought 't had been some terribler thing than that. 

BISHOP. 

Than what, my liege ? 

JAMES. 

You'll see — you'll see ; fear not. 
I tell you a king's eye can see as clear 
As a good bishop's, Ere three hours are fled 
There will be proof. Come to our court at nine ; 
You'll see some action then that fits a king; 
And as you go, send me Lord Seton. 

BISHOP. 

Seton ! 
No ; save in keeping of the guard. 



64 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 



My Lord, 
Say that again ; perhaps I heard not right. 
I told you to send Seton — my friend Seton — 
Lord Seton — and you answer'd something. What? 

BISHOP. 

That he's the traitor I would warn you of. 

JAMES. 

Seton a traitor ? Seton, that I've loved 

Since we were boys ! Ho ! Seton ! — Rest you, Sir ; 

You shall avouch this thing. — Seton ! Ho ! Seton ! 

BISHOP. 

My liege, I've proofs. 

JAMES. 

What say you ? — proofs ? 



BISHOP. 

Clearer than sunlight. 

Enter Attendant. 



Ay, proofs, 



james, (with dignity). 

Take our greeting, Sir, 
To the Lord Seton — we would see him here. 

[Exit Attendant. 
Proofs ! and of Seton's guilt ! Can it be so ? 
He was my friend — from five years old — so high ; 
We had the same masters, played at the same games — 
Coits — golf. Fool ! fool ! to think that anything 
Can bind a heart. I thought his heart was mine, 
His love — his life— and to desert me now ! 
Viper ! He shall not live to laugh at me — 
At the poor king that trusted. Viper — dog ! 
My lord, this thing you say is full of proof! 



Ay, Sir. Be firm. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 65 

JAMES. 

Firm ! There's no tyrant king 
That flung men's hearts to feed the beasts i' the circus ; 
That tore men's limbs with horses for their sport ; 
That sent men to the tigers, and looked on 
To see them quivering in the monster's claws, 
Was half so firm — so pitiless ! {Enter Seton. ) You're 
here ! 



Welcome, kind liege, to Holyrood again ! 



Back — back — keep off me ! We're your King, Lord Seton ! 
We will be just — we were in anger late. 
We're calm. Though it should burst my heart in twain, 
I will be calm. (Aside.) 



My liege, what means this charge ? 
I am not used to hear so harsh a voice 
From my kind master — from my friend ! 

JAMES. 

Not that ! 
By heaven, we're friend to not a man on earth ! 
No — never more ! 

SETON. 

You are unjust to me. 
You wrong me — oh, you wrong me, Sir ! 



Oh, heaven ! 
That I should hear a traitor borrow thus 
John Seton's voice, and look through Seton's eyes ! 
Now, then, my lord ; what say you of this man ? 

BISHOP. 

That he deceives you. 



66 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 

SETON. 

I ? you false tongued — but, 
Forgive me my rough speech ; you wear a garb 
That checks my tongue. 

JAMES. 

In what does he deceive ? 

BISHOP. 

He and Lord Hume 

JAMES. 

What ! he, too ! Where's Lord Hume ? 

BISHOP. 

I blame not him, my liege ! 

JAMES. 

No. Is he true ? 
Send me Lord Hume ; I'd see at least one man 
That keeps his faith ! 

SETON. 

My liege, I know not yet 
What charge the good Lord Bishop brings against me ; 
But if 'tis breach of faith, of love, to you, 
I will not say he lies — but it is false. 

JAMES. 

Say on, say on — be sure your proof is strong ; 

For this is such an hour, I would not live it, 

For all the wealth of earth. Quick ! Have it o'er ! 

BISHOP. 

You bear command, Lord Seton, of the host ? 



He does ! 

BISHOP. 

And yet you entertain advice 
With English Dacre. Nay, deny it not ; 
I've seen the messenger in close discourse 
At night, within your tent. I know his errand, 
For I have trusty watchers in the camp. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 67 

JAMES. 
Do you deny this ? 

SETON. 

I cannot deny 

JAMES. 

Villain ! you can't deny ! Oh, shame — oh, shame ! 
Where will you hide you ? But go on — we're calm. 

BISHOP. 

His errand was to offer you great sums 
Of English gold. 

JAMES. 

Was this his errand? 



Yes. 

JAMES. 

And your base coward sword sprung not at once 
Forth from the sheath ? You did not sla} T the man ? 



No! 

BISHOP. 

And he sent a message back to Dacre, 
And gave the envoy passage, and safe conduct. 



Is all this true ? — Oh Seton, say the word, 
One little word — tell me it is not true ! 



My liege, 'tis true. 

JAMES. 

Then by the name we bear, 
You die ! — a traitor's death ! Sirrah ! the guard. 

[Exit Usher. 
I will not look again to where he stands. 

{Enter Guard : they stand by Seton.) 

Let him be taken hence — and let the axe 
Rid me of Seton ! is it so in truth, 

f2 



68 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 

That you've deceived me — joined my enemies? 
You — you — my friend — my playmate!— is it so? 
Sir, will you tell me wherein I have failed 
In friendship to the man that was my friend ? 
I thought I loved } 7 ou — that in all my heart 
Dwelt not a thought that wronged you. 



You have heard 
What my accuser says, and you condemn me — 
I say no word to save a forfeit life — 
A life is not worth having, when't has lost 
All that gave value to it — my sovereign's trust ! 

james (to the bishop). 

You see this man, Sir — he's the self-same age 

That I am. We were children both together, — 

We grew — we read in the same book — my lord, 

You must remember that ? — how we were never 

Separate from each other ; well, this man 

Lived with me, year by year ; he counsell'd me, 

Cheer'd me, sustained me — he was as myself — 

The very throne that is to other kings 

A desolate island rising in the sea — 

A pinnacle of power, in solitude, 

Grew to a seat of pleasance in his trust. 

The sea, that chafed all round it with its waves, 

This man bridged over with his love, and made it 

A highway for our subjects' happiness — 

And now ! for a few pieces of red gold 

He leaves me. Oh, he might have coin'd my life 

Into base ingots — stript me of it all — 

If he had left me faith in one true heart, 

And I should ne'er have grudged him the exchange. 

Go, now. We speak your doom — you die the death! 

God pardon you ! I dare not pardon you — 

Farewell. 



I ask no pardon, Sir, from you, 
May you find pardon — ay, in your own heart 
For what you do this day ! 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 69 

BISHOP. 

Be firm, my liege. 

JAMES. 

Away, away, old man ! — you do not know — 

You cannot know — what this thing costs me. Go ! 

I'm firm. 

SETON. 

Who is it that accuses me ? 
'Tis like your noble nature to be sudden ; 
I thought you just no less. 

JAMES. 

Ha ! hear you that ? 
Bring on your proof. Though his own tongue confess'd 
Enough to whet the dullest axe to a point — 
Where is that envoy ? 

BISHOP. 

He is here, my liege. 

JAMES. 

Bring him ! [Exit Bishop. 

Let the Lord Seton stay. 
(Enter Bishop and English Messenger.) 

How now? 
You came with message from Lord Dacre's camp ? 

MESSENGER. 

From the Lord Dacre's self — so please you, Sir ; 
But will Lord Seton's letter of safe conduct, 
Bear me in surety ? 

JAMES. 

Have no fear, my friend : 
His letter of safe conduct ! What contain'd 
Your message to Lord Seton? 

MESSENGER. 

A free offer 
Of twenty thousand marks. 

JAMES. 

For what — for what ? 



70 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 

MESSENGER. 

To stay inactive, or lead off the force, 
When brought to face our army. 

JAMES. 

Was it so ? 
To leave me fenceless ! and he answered you 
Kindly — he paused a little, just a little, 
Before he struck his king, his friend, to the earth. 
Out with it all ! — He gave you a message back ? 
Is't so — is't so ? 

MESSENGER. 

Yes, please your majesty. 



I knew it ! — a few phrases — a regret— 
A fear — a hope ; but he agreed at last. 
Tell me the answer he sent back to Dacre. 



Here is the very letter — I laid hold of it 
On the man's person. 

JAMES. 

Read, read, good Lord Bishop, 
Blink not a word of it — a syllable ; 
Deliver it as we were Dacre's self. 
Now, what says Seton, that degenerate Scot ? 

bishop {reads). 

" This is my answer to Lord Dacre's message : 
" I trample with my heel on your foul bribe — 
" I send you scorn, and hatred, and defiance." 

JAMES. 

More, more ! 

BISHOP. 

" I cast my glove into your face, 
" And summon you to meet me, foot to foot, 
" When flies the Scottish banner on the Tweed 
" On Monday morn " 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 71 

JAME9. 

Go on ! 

BISHOP. 

" I call you slave, 
" To think to wean me from my loyalty, 
" My truth, my honour to my trusting king." 

JAMES. 

Ha ! — was it so ? Go forth, good messenger, 

Bear you this chain of gold. {Hurries the Messenger out.) 

My good Lord Bishop 
What meant you? — but no, no — you meant it well; 
Go mind your priests, my lord, — meddle no more 
In things like this. Keep to your duties, Sir ; 
Bid not your priests be " firm" — tell them to be 
Gentle, forgiving, trustful, but not firm ; 
No more — no more. {Hurries the Bishop out.) 

Guards, leave my friend, Lord Seton. 

\_Exeunt Guards. 
Now, we're alone ! Come, Seton ! Seton, here ! 
To my heart. {They embrace.) Why said you nothing? 

SETON. 

For I knew 
Your justice 'self would be the pleader for me. 

JAMES. 

Ah, Seton, what a shock it gave my heart, 
To think that you had left me. Pardon it ; 
It was because I trusted you the most, 
That the blow fell so heavy. I was wrong, 
And you'll forgive me ; all my life shall be 
A recompence for the vile thought that dwelt 
But for ten minutes, — not a minute more, — 
In my weak heart ; but tell me you'll forgive it. 



Forgive it, my good liege 

JAMES. 

I know you will, 
For I will earn it of you with such trust 
As never king had in his friend before. 



72 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 

SETON. 
Others, my liege, are false 



Ha ! that they are ! 

But fear not ; you and Hume are by my side. 

I'll balk the traitors yet. Oh, I'll be firm — 

Firm as the Bass, rugged as Ailsa crag. 

I shall know all ere long. Send fifty horse 

To one Sir Adam Weir's, near Calder town ; 

Bring every soul that's found within the house, 

The old man himself; a widow, Mistress Barton; 

His kinsman, Malcolm Young ; a fair young girl, 

Called Madeleine ; an old simpleton, Laird Small, 

And his son, Mungo, — fail not one of them — 

Bring them all here ; and call a court at nine, 

Fail not — and have our guard in double force ; 

The headsman ready — it may chance our work 

Be bloody, if we're firm. Fail not at nine ; 

And now farewell! [Exeunt. 



SCENE II. — A room in Laichmont House. 

SIR ADAM WEIR MALCOLM YOUNG. 

SIR ADAM. 

What said you to your cousin, Madeleine ? 
Does she consent to follow your advice ? 
She would be wise to do it. 

MALCOLM. 

I did not dare 
To intrude upon her grief. 

SIR ADAM. 

You did not dare ? 
Did I not tell you, Sir, to use the power 
That use, that old acquaintance gave to you, 
To bend her to my will? 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 7 

MALCOLM. 

You told me, Sir 

SIR ADAM. 

And you've not done it ? and affect fine scruples, 
As if you could not dare to touch her grief? 
Sir, when I give the order, you must dare 
To send her grief to the four winds of heaven, 
And make her do my will. Her grief — her grief! 
What is her grief? 

MALCOLM. 

Alas, I cannot tell ! 

SIR ADAM. 

And no one else. She has a heart untouched 

By liking, for she ne'er has spoke to man 

Save you ; and, therefore, why should she refuse 

Her hand where I've determined to bestow it ? 

Moss Holm, with its broad meadows and rich haughs, 

Is settled on her, on her marriage day ; 

The management— the rents, are in my hands ; 

Moss Holm and Laichmont, if conjoined in one, 

Were a fit holding for a belted earl. 

Now hear me farther : If success should crown 

My efforts, in a cause which scarce can fail, 

There is sure promise of a rank and name 

To me ; and failing other heirs — to her — 

To Madeleine — the Lady Madeleine — 

The Baroness of Laichmont ! — she shall wed 

No bold ambitious Springald, that might mar 

My rising, with some crotchet of his own ; 

I must have Laichmont and Moss Holm conjoined. 

Now, let her marry this young Popinjay, 

Or be an outcast ! Did you tell her this ? 

MALCOLM. 

Something of this she knew. 

SIR ADAM. 

I know she did, 
I told her so. Does she consent, I ask ? 

MALCOLM. 

She did not tell me she would give consent. 



74 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 

SIR ADAM. 

You did not ask her. Am I thwarted thus ? 
Have you the insolence to tell me this ? 
Know you what I have been to you? 



MALCOLM. 



SIR ADAM. 

And know you what it is you are ? 



I do. 



I do. 



Well, then, — why spoke you not to Madeleine, 
To change her purpose ? 



MALCOLM. 

For I could not do it. 



You would not. You're a kinsman, Malcolm Young- 
A penniless, unfriended kinsman, Sir; 
Know you 'twas I that moved the Cardinal 
To give you priesthood ? 

MALCOLM. 

Yes, I know it was. 
Sir Adam Weir, let us have no mistake : 
You asked me, if I knew what you had been, 
I told you, yes. You asked me, if I knew 
Who I was, and I told you, yes, again. 
You taunt me that I'm friendless — that I'm poor ; 
You boast you moved the great Lord Cardinal 
To make me priest. I am a friendless man ; 
I'm poor ; I am a priest — and would to heaven 
That I had died the day that made me so ! 
You've crush'd my heart. I will not curse you, Sir, 
But I will bid you look into your breast— 
What see you there ? Oh, Sir, is there no thought 
Of all the wrecks you've made of Peace — of Hope — 
Of Trust and Innocence ? 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 7 

SIR ADAM. 

How mean you, Sir? 

MALCOLM. 

Nay, hear me out. When all that I possessed — 
It was not much, but it was all I had — 
Was lost in the great bark in which you sailed, 
When you were shipwreck'd on the Spanish coast 

SIR ADAM. 

I know, I know; you doubt not I was wreck'd? 
I have the proofs. 

MALCOLM. 

When all I had was lost, 
And I was doomed to eat the bitter bread 
Of grudging kindness, you assumed a right 
To guide me : I was plastic in your hands ; 
I turned my spirit from its loved pursuits — 
The steed — the sword — and bent it to the toil 
Of midnight stufly ; half forgot myself 
To stone, and weeded from my heart away 
All memories — so I thought — of what had been. 
Sir, all these memories have sprung again, 
Fresh ! Oh, they rush like a red lava-flood 
Into my soul — they boil up to my brain ! 
Man, that I trusted ! tyrant, who has made 
My life a desert, and my heart a tomb ! 
I warn you make not others miserable, 
As you've made me. I'm aroused man. Beware! 

SIR ADAM. 

What is't you know ? Of what must I beware ? 

MALCOLM. 

I tell you, every tear that I have shed 

Rises to heaven against you, like the voice 

Of blood ! for Sorrow has a cry for Vengeance 

On him who caused it, as the voiceless lips 

Of murdered men call out to Righteous Heaven 

Against their murderer ! There's an hour shall come- 

It may come quickly. 

SIR ADAM. 

What do you suspect ? 



76 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 

MALCOLM. 

Nothing. I've no suspicions ; but I know. 

[Exit Malcolm. 

SIR ADAM. 

What is't he knows ? Can he have heard it said 

There was no wreck — and that I kept it all ? 

It cannot be — no, no — the proofs are good. 

And Madeleine too, the meek-soul'd Madeleine. 

The worm I've trampled, turns on me at last. 

What has she learn'd ? — does she know all ? Well, well, 

What if she does ; she's but a silly girl, 

And men will laugh at her, if she but breathe 

A word against my name. No ; she shall wed. 

Oh, she will pine, for she's of noble thoughts, 

When married to the fool. But all Moss Holm 

Is mine — is mine ! and all my dreams come true. 

(A noise heard.) 
What tramp is that of horsemen in the court ? 
Can Albyn be returned? And will the lords 
Do as Lord Dacre bids them ? Will they take 
The English bribes, and leave the fiery James 
Unfriended, powerless ? Then, my game is won ! 
No danger more ; rank, fortune, all my own ! 

Enter Laird Small, Mungo, Widow — afterwards an 
officer and escort. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! it's very kind in good King James. 

SIR ADAM. 

What is it, Sir? 

LAIRD. 

It's very kind, Gadso ! 
He's heard of Mungo 's marriage, and commands 
His presence, and his bride's; Gadso, 'tis kind! 
I thought not Mungo such a favourite. 

SIR ADAM. 

Your son is silent, Sir. 

LAIRD. 

Why don't you speak ? 



SCENE II.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 77 

OFFICER. 

The King commands you with all speed to court. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! you don't seem pleased. I'll bet you, now, 
James has some famous tournament afoot, 
And wants to run a course with you himself. 



With me — a course ? 

LAIRD {to SIR ADAM.) 

I told you he was a boy ! 

SIR ADAM. 

What means all this ? what is it you would say ? 



The king has sent for us : for you and me, 
And Mungo, and good Widow Barton, here. 
Gadso, he deigns to give the bride away 
With his own hand ; so says the messenger! 



Father, when we arrive at Holyrood, 
Don't say a word about the tournament. 

LAIRD. 

No? Does the king not like it? few folks do,- 

To be reminded of discomfitures. 

I knew a captain of— but never mind, 

He ran away from Flodden. Gadso, Sir! 

If you said anything that began with F, — 

Physic, philosophy, no matter what — 

Gadso, he flew in such a passion, Sir. 

SIR ADAM. 

I'll not to court : I'm old ; I am not well. 



I must require you to make no delay ; 

We must reach Holyrood ere vesper chime. 



78 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT IV. 

sir adam (aside) 
Is it, then, true, this fool is loved by James ? 
Why, then, so much the better. (Aloud,) If the king 
Commands, we must obey. 



What, I? Sir Adam. 
My silk is at the dyer's, the old puce ; 
It's to be black ; I wish it had come home, 
How can I look upon a king, dressed thus ? 
Oh ! it will be high treason. Where's my cousin ? 
I'll borrow her green satin. Madeleine ! 
Where is she gone to ? Cousin Madeleine ! 

\_Exit Widow. 

MUNGO. 

Father, you'll not speak any nonsense, now, 
About my breaking-in King James's horse ? 

LAIRD. 

Why not ? It was a goodly piece of service ; 
I wish you had done the same to my old mare ; 
She laid me in a ditch. 

MUNGO. 

I wish the King 
Would leave folks to get married for themselves. 

OFFICER. 

I must remind you 

SIR ADAM. 

You had best make haste 

To obey the summons. I am quite prepared. 



The king is very kind — exceeding good. 

Come, Mungo, we'll go on ; the bride will follow. 

Gadso ! I'm thankful to the King. Come, boy ! 



SCENE J.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 79 



ACT V. 

SCENE I. — The audience chamber in Holyrood ; folding 
doors at the back. 

James seated apart. The Courtiers in groups. 

The Lords observing him. 

SOMERVILLE {to KILMAURS). 

His grace is heavier than his wont. 

KILMAURS. 

He looks 
All round, first upon one, then on another, 
As he would dive into their hearts. 

SOMERVILLE. 

See now ! 
How he is gazing on Lord Seton's face. 

JAMES. 

Seton ! 

SETON. 

Your Majesty! 

JAMES. 

Come near me, Seton ! 
What is't detains the Cardinal so long? 
'Tis no such mighty work ; a ready pen 
And a good will should make it minutes' business. 

SETON. 

I'll seek his grace. 

JAMES. 

Did him despatch. [Exit Seton. 

james {to hume). 

A word — 
The escort is returned from Laichmont ? 



80 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

HUME, 

Yes. 

JAMES. 

With the whole household of Sir Adam Weir ? 

HUME. 

They wait your summons in the ante-chamber. 

JAMES. 

Well, let them wait awhile ; we've other matters 
That need our ordering first. I'll call them soon. 

KILMAURS, (to SOMERVILLE.) 

A smile — the first I've seen on him to-day. 

SOMERVILLE. 

I trust he has no doubt. 

KILMAURS. 

His looks are sad, 
Not doubtful. He is of a trusting nature. 

SOMERVILLE. 

When comes the messenger from Dacre's camp ? 

MAXWELL. 

I trust, ere long ; I like quick settlements. 
And, by the Lord ! if Dacre plays us false, 
And sends not the instalment due this week, 



I'll join the King ! 



Well— well? 



KILMAURS. 

Oh ! he will send the coin. 
Re-enter Seton. 

JAMES. 



seton. 
The papers are prepared ; his grace 
Attends you. 

JAMES. 

Bring him. With your leave, my lords, 
We'll have some private conference with the cardinal. 

[Exeunt Lords, &c, through the folding doors. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 81 

Enter Archbishop — Usher at the door. 

JAMES. 

Is it prepared ? All signed, and duly sealed ? 
You stand not on your scruples? Give it me ! 

archbishop (giving a parchment). 
'Tis here, my liege. 

JAMES. 

And nothing left to do, 
But write the name of the recipient ? 
Here is the blank — I will insert the name. 
I thank you for this act. 

ARCHBISHOP. 

I know not, Sire, 
If in this cause I strain not the full powers 
Held from the holy father. Oh, bethink you, 
Ere 'tis too late, how great a thing you ask ! 

JAMES. 

'Tis a stout arm — a gallant heart I ask, 
That you have nearly robb'd poor Scotland of. 
Why, you can find a score in every parish, 
With hands as qualified to handle tithes, 
And lips as eloquent in homilies, 
But scarce so quick an eye, so true a sword, 
In all the land ! I can't afford him, Sir ; 
And so I thank you, good Lord Cardinal — 
You give me back a soldier. 

ARCHBISHOP. 

And strip off 
The holy panoply that guarded him 
From sin. Oh, Sir ! — it is not yet too late : 
Bethink you — you lay bare to the assaults 
Of Satan the poor heart that lay secure 
Behind the blessing of the church. Your hand 
Launches again the bark — that lay in safety 
In a calm haven — out into the sea, 
Where storms are raging, and the waves are high — 
The bark may founder ! Give me back the deed ! 

JAMES. 

Not for my crown ! What ho ! Bring to our presence 
The man I told you of. [Exit Usher. 



82 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

ARCHBISHOP. 

So true a love 
As James shows ever to the holy See 
Moves me to do his bidding in this thing ; 
Your Majesty will see in it a proof 
Of how your zeal is valued. 

james (icho has been reading the deed). 

All correct ! 
Nought but the name to add. 

{Enter- Malcolm Young.) 

Come hither, Sir. 
We have heard such good report of your deservings, 
That we think fit, as a discerning King — 
Whose eyes should ever watch upon the worth 
Of his true subjects, to bestow reward 
On the well-doer — to advance your rank. 
How stand you in the Church ? 

MALCOLM. 

My gracious liege, 
Pardon me. To have earned my sovereign's praise — 
If such I've done, I know not by what means — 
Is all I hope. 

JAMES. 

Do you refuse our favour? 

MALCOLM. 

My liege, I have no higher wish on earth 
Than to attain your favour. 

JAMES. 

What rich stalls — • 
What prebends are now vacant? You're too young 
To be a bishop ; yet there may be times 
When youth is no impediment. How say you ? 

MALCOLM. 

I wish no station in the church, my liege ; 
Rather I wish to lay aside the place 
I hold e'en now, and in some silent cell 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 83 

To hide me from the world. I pray your grace, 
Hold me excused. I have no wish for power, 
Or wealth, or honour. 

JAMES. 

You're a foolish youth — 
Some day-dream blinds you. Kneel to the Archbishop ! 

MALCOLM. 

To ask his grace's blessing ere I go 

JAMES. 

Nay — to receive promotion. Kneel, I say ! 

malcolm (kneeling to the king). 
I pray your Majesty 

JAMES. 

'Tis not to us — 
Kneel to his grace the Archbishop. Kneel not here — 
Kneel there ! 

malcolm (rising). 
I cannot kneel in such a cause. 



No ? We must ask you in a suppliant's voice. 
Look on us. 

(Malcolm recognises the King, who takes off his cap.) 
Why, good fellow, did you think 
We had no gratitude for ready help ? 
Kneel, Sir ! 

MALCOLM. 

For pardon to your Majesty. 
I knew not, I suspected not, my liege — 
Oh, if you would not see me die before you, 
Wring not a heart that's so deep weighed in grief, 
It has no other sense ! 

JAMES. 

Then won't you trust me ? 
I would not add an atom to your grief. 
Try me ! Why, Malcolm, you've no memory. 
Have you forgotten how we swore our friendship ? 

And how fair Madeleine 

g 2 



84 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

MALCOLM. 

Oh ! name her not ! 
I cannot hear her name. 

JAMES. 

But you shall hear it ! 
I'll name no other name, unless you kneel ! 
I'll call out Madeleine — and nought but Madeleine — 
If you won't kneel ! Come, get upon your knee, 
While I essay my rusty penmanship 
In writing Malcolm— M A C O M !— ( Writes)— 
Young — Malcolm Young. Kneel to the Cardinal! 

MALCOLM. 

I'm so amazed — bewildered ! Good my liege, 
You bruise a spirit that, oppressed already 

JAMES (to the ARCHBISHOP). 

Give him the deed ! (Forces Malcolm to kneel.) 

Kneel, sirrah ! — on your knee ! 

(Holds him doicn.) 
There ! there ! 

( The Archbishop gives him the deed ; James raises 
and embraces him.) 

Come to my heart ; you are a man ! 
(As he leads him towards the folding doors.) 
Now, then, we face the enemy together. 
In weal or woe you'll never leave my side, 
Nor chill, nor falter in your truthfulness 
To your true fellow-soldier, and kind king. 
Nay, answer not — I know your very heart! 
( To Usher.) Admit Sir Adam Weir, and wait our coming. 
[Exit, with Malcolm, through folding doors. 

Usher goes to the side door. Enter Laird Small, 
Mungo, Widow, Madeleine ; Sir Adam Weir stands 
apart from the others; courtiers in groups ; lords passing 
to and fro. Usher at folding doors. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! Come, Widow Barton, leave my son 
To throw sweet looks at mistress Madeleine. . 
Well ! what a thing it is to have a boy 
Like Mungo. He's a boy ! 



SCENE I."| THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 

WIDOW. 

I never thought 
To be so honoured — me at Holyrood ! 
In such apparel ! Mister Mungo, Sir, 
Seems in high favour. 

LAIRD. 

Favour ! gadso — yes ! 

He's like who's the fat fellow with one eye, 

The cardinal, in England, — he has a son, 

A butcher — Wolsey ; he's like Cardinal Wolsey. 

WIDOW. 

A wondrous gentleman. 

laird (to usher). 

Pray you, good Sir, 
When will the doors be opened ? 

USHER. 

When the king 
Comes forth to give you welcome. Are you all 
Arrived ? Where is Sir Adam Weir ? 

SIR ADAM. 

I'm here. 

WIDOW. 

What a white face my uncle has ! 

LAIRD. 

Poor man, 
He has no son in favour with the king ! 

WIDOW. 

But soon will have a grandson. 

LAIRD. 

So he will, 
Gadso ! a grandson — that is Mungo Small, 
My son, his grandson— gadso ! what relations 
Are we then? 'Tis a question. 



86 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

MUNGO (to MADELEINE). 

How I wish 
This were well over ! Don't you wish it were ? 

MADELEINE. 

What is it ? It concerns not me. 

31UNGO. 

Oh, don't it ! 
That's all you know. Didn't the messenger 
Tell father, that the king — God save the king ! — 
Out of affection to a friend of his — 
He did not name him, — I wont name him either — 
Was fixed to be your bridesman at the wedding ? 

laird (overhearing). 
Gadso ! that's to reward you for your skill, 
Unhorsing Maxwell at the tournament. 

MUNGO. 

Hush, father ! 

LAIRD. 

Or, perhaps, for breaking in 
His Spanish horse ? 

MUNGO. 

I never broke it in. 
Father, don't speak to James. Pray, widow Barton, 
Would you take Madeleine's arm? I'd say a word 
Into my father's ear. 

widow {going to Madeleine). 
Why don't you go 
T'your grandsire, girl ? 

MADELEINE. 

I will remain alone. 

WIDOW. 

It is not seemly on a wedding day 
To look so solemn. 

MADELEINE. 

This is not a day 
Of wedding or rejoicing. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 87 

WIDOW. 

Oh ! it is ; 
The king has made a law, that you're to marry 
Young Mister Small. 

MADELEINE, 

I have not long to live ; 
I pray you leave me to my solemn thoughts — 
You cannot share them ! 

USHER. 

Hush ! the king ! — the king ! 
\_They retire. 

James advances in state, and takes his seat on the throne. 
Nobles, Bishops* Ushers, 8fc, come forward. 

JAMES (to seton). 
Are the guards doubled in the outer ward ? 

SETON. 

Yes, trebled. 

JAMES. 

That is well— the headsman's ready ? 

SETON. 

He is. 

JAMES. 

What lacks it to the Vesper chime ? 

SETON. 

A minute or two. 

JAMES. 

How bold their lordships look ! 
I think I'll humble some of them ere long, — 
I'll teach them to take Dacre's bribes ! 

SOMERVILLE. 

He speaks 

Angrily ! 

KILMAURS. 

I would rather see him angry 
Than knitting his thick brow, and saying nothing — 
A dog can't bite while it is barking. 



88 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

AN USHER (to KILMAURS.) 

Sir, 
A man is at the door, and claims admittance. 

KILMAURS. 

What man ? — the king is busy. Tell the man 
To come another time. 

SOMERVILLE. 

Who is it, Usher ? 

/ USHER. 

A common man, I'm told. 

KILMAURS. 

Tell him to go 
To the devil. What business have these common fellows 
With courts at all ? 

USHER. 

He insists on coming in ! 

KILMAURS. 

Tell them to flog him up the Canongate. 

JAMES. 

What's that ? — you seem in trouble, Lord Kilmaurs. 

KILMAURS. 

Why, 'tis some clownish clodpole tries to force 
His way to see your highness. 

JAMES. 

Ope the doors ! 
Let him come in. God's mercy, good my lords ! 
Why stand we here, and wear upon our brows 
The Scottish crown, if lives the Scottish man 
That may not claim our help ? Let him come in. 

[Exit Usher. 

MAXWELL (to SOMERVILLE). 

I hate this constant courting of the commons, 
It bodes no good to the nobility. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 

SOMERVILLE. 

I trust this expedition to the borders 
Will teach him better. 

MAXWELL. 

He'll be a luckier man 
Than any of his fathers, if he lives 
To boast that he can trample on his peers. 

Enter Buckie, with wolf s jaws on his head. 

JAMES. 

How now ? Who are you, in such masquerade ? 
( To the Usher. ) Good Usher, who is this ? 

mungo {coming forward). 

It's Buckie, Sire, 
The robber of Drumshorlan. 

JAMES. 

Guard the door ! 
What brings j^ou here ? By'r lady, 'tis too much 
To beard us on our throne ! Let him not stir. 

BUCKIE. 

My liege, the palace gate shall open wide 
To let me go, when I but say the word. 

JAMES. 

It shall be opened when /say the word, 
To take your felon body up the street 
To the Tollbooth. 

BUCKIE. 

I shall be free as air ! 
You will not say that word. 

JAMES. 

What warrant, knave, 
Have you for boast so idle ? 

BUCKIE. 

James's word — 
I need no other safeguard. 



90 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

JAMES. 

What's your quest ? 



Justice ! 

JAMES. 

Dog ! is't to mock us you are come 
To talk of justice in a court? My lords! 
Where should we be if every man had justice ? 
Where should we be, Kilmaurs — Grey — Somerville ? 

SOMERVILLE. 

I like not this beginning. Who is this ? 

KILMAURS. 

I know not ; but the king seems hot in wrath. 

maxwell (to them). 
He's a known robber ! 

SOMERVILLE. 

He'll be in a string 
Dancing at the Tollbooth, in half an hour. 

KILMAURS. 

That's where he means we all should be. 

JAMES. 

A bold knave, 
Seton ! he braves it well. ( To Buckie.) What are 
you, caitiff? 

BUCKIE. 

Some six years since, I would have said a man, 
But now I know not what to call myself. 
An outcast ! a poor Scottish Ishmaelite, 
My hand against all men, and all men's hands 
'Gainst me. 

JAMES. 

And now you make a claim on us 
For justice ? Against whom ? 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 91 

BUCKIE. 

Against a man. 
Here in this presence ; rich in the world's respect, 
Wise, honoured 

JAMES. 

And his name ? 



Sir Adam Weir ! 

JAMES. 

How ? now be careful ! He's a man esteemed, 
Nobly befriended, truthful, honourable ; 
My lords ! he must be known to some of you, 
Why bear you not your witness for your friend ? 

(To Seton, aside.) 
See, how their conscience keeps them silent, Seton ! 



My Liege, I know not what this ruffian means, 
Or wherefore he pollutes your Grace's ear 
With accusations unsustained by proof; 
But let him speak — I need have little fear 
Of such accuser. 

JAMES. 

No ! Go on, Sir Knave. 

BUCKIE. 

I do impeach this man, Sir Adam Weir, 

That he of wilful and deliberate choice 

Did make his kinsman, George — his brother's son- 

A robber ! 

SIR ADAM. 

It is false ! the boy is dead. 



He stript him of his substance, taught his heart 
To be a glowing furnace of fierce thoughts, 
And to forget all blissful lenity — 
All tenderness, all hope, all trust, all pity : 
He made him be an outcast, till his soul 
Grew hard and rugged as the desolate moors 



92 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

Where his grim trade was plied. He changed his nature 
Into a wolf's — his sleep into a hell, 
Fill'd with dark fiends, that pointed to the Past ! — 
And of these crimes I do accuse this man. 

JAMES. 

What say you to these plaints, Sir Adam Weir ? 

SIR ADAM. 

That they are false ; fit for the felon's heart 
They come from ! If my nephew were alive 
He would disprove these baseless calumnies. 
My Liege, 'tis no light thing to load with shame 
The hoary head of an old man. My name 
Can stand a greater shock than the attack 
Of robbers, such as this. I wrong'd him not — 
Not of the value of the smallest coin — 
I loved him, I was kind and good to him 
Ever ; from boyhood up. Nay, had he liv'd, 
He would be equal sharer of my wealth 
With my poor child, my grandchild, at my side. 

BUCKIE. 

But he does live — to meet you front to front — 

Here! (Throws back the wolfs head.) I am he. 

What ! not a word to me, 
Kind uncle ? 



JAMES ( 

O ho ! is it so, my friend ? 
I scarcely looked for you in garb like this. 

BUCKIE. 

My Liege, my loving uncle holds his tongue ; 
Will he be silent still when I make charge 
Of other crimes — crimes, greater, loftier 

JAMES. 

What mean you ? 

BUCKIE. 

Treason ! foul, unnatural treason ! 

JAMES. 

How? 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 93 

Sill ADAM. 
I repel this villain's accusation — 
This spendthrift robber. Oh, 'tis false, my Liege ; 
I can appeal to my whole life, these lords, 
I'm sure they'll speak for me ; for years and years 
Many have known me, they will answer for me, — 
For my good name — 

JAMES. 

And is it so, my lords ? 

kilmaurs {after a pause). 
We can ; we've known him a most worthy man. 

SOMERVILLE. 

We've known him for a loyal gentleman ; 
He has given proof 

BUCKIE. 

Oh, here is more of proof, 
If it be proof you want. I have command 
To give these packets from Sir Adam Weir 
Into the noble hands of certain peers. 

SIR ADAM. 

Ha ! — no — 'tis false !' give them to me — they're mine. 

JAMES. 

No ! on your life ! My good Lord Somerville, 
Bring me the packet. 

somerville (disconcerted). 

'Tis some foolishness, 
I'll take the charge. 

JAMES. 

Bring me the packet, Lord ! 
(Somerville gives the packet univillingly.) 

james (gives it to Maxwell). 
Here, Maxwell ! break the seal ; but your hand shakes. 
Hume! lay it open. (Hume opens the packet.) Blessings 

on you, Hume ! 
Oh, what a thing is truth ! Here, give it me ! 

(James takes the packet.) 



94 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

Now by my soul, this is a happy time ! 

I hold a score of heads within my hands — 

Heads — noble heads — right honourable heads — 

Stand where you are ! ay, coroneted heads — 

Nay, whisper not ! What think you that I am ? 

A dolt — a madman ? As I live by bread, 

I'll show you what I am ! You thought me blind, 

You call d me heedless James, and hoodwink'd James — 

You'll find me watchful James, and vengeful James ! 

(Hume marches in the Guard, with Headsman ; they 
stand beside the Lords, who form a group.} 

One little word, and it will conjure up 

The fiend to tear you. One motion of this hand — 

One turning of the leaf — Who stirs a foot 

Is a dead man ! If I but turn the leaf 

Shame sits, like a foul vulture on a corse 

And flaps its wings on the dishonoured names 

Of knights and nobles. 

(A pause ; the Lords look at each other.) 
Nay, blench not, good my lords ; 
I mean not you, the idle words I say 
Can have no sting for you ! You are true men — 
True to your King ! You'll show your truth, my Lords, 
In battle ; pah ! we'll teach those Englishmen 
We are not the base things they take us for: 
They'll see James, and his nobles side by side — 
{Aside.) If they desert me now, then farewell all ! 
{Aloud.) There! — (Gives the packet back to Somerville.) 
I know nothing ! 

SIR ADAM. 

I — my Liege — at least, 
Of deed so black, of crimes against your highness, 
I'm innocent. 

(James looks sternly at him, and Sir Adam recognises him 
as Albyn.) 



You chose your messenger 
With matchless skill. Old man, the saddest sight 
That mortal eye can see is the white head 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 95 

That knows not truth. Away ! we mark your words, 
That you make equal portion of your wealth 
Between your nephew and your grandchild. Go ! 

( The King walks up the stage.) 

MAXWELL. 

My neck feels rather stiff yet, from the sight 
Of that long axe. 

SOMERVILLE. 

He's of a noble heart. 

MAXWELL. 

My lords, I'll fight. 'Tis safer fight, Lord Dacre, 
Than take his coin. 

KILMAURS. 

But not so pleasant. 

james (returning). 

Now 
To happier scenes. Come hither, Master Small ; 
You wish to wed this lady ? 

LAIRD. 

That he does, 
Gadso ! so please you — and she loves him, too — 
They'd kiss each other through a hole in the wall, 
Like — I forget his name ; and — never mind! 

JAMES. 

And you, as father of the happy bridegroom, 
Give your consent ? 

LAIRD. 

Consent ! Gadso ; oh, yes, 
Twill make them happy. ( To Mungo.) Where's your 

tongue gone to ? 
Please you, my son — my Mungo's more at home 
In tournaments, and breaking in your horse 



Hush ! — hush ! 



96 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! — you told us so yourself — 
Didn't he, Widow Barton ? 

james (to the lords). 

Good my lords, 
Please you draw back a space. 

[ The Lords retire — James goes to Madeleine. 
How say you, maiden ? 
You look not on the bridegroom you have chosen, 
With loving eyes, as would beseem your state — 
Come, come ; you're bashful ; turn your glowing eyes 
On the enraptured Small ! 

LAIRD (pushing MUNGO). 

Gadso ! — go nearer — 
The king is making love for you himself. 



You do not answer. 

MADELEINE. 

If your majesty 
Knew what a sense of misery was here, 
You would not speak as now. 

JAMES. 

Why not, I pray you ? 
Is not your bridegroom fair to look upon ? 
Noble in bearing, with a stately step, 
Like a young lion in his native wood ? 
See! ^ 

MADELEINE. 

Oh ! my liege ! — spai*e me this mockery ! 
I never looked upon the creature's face, 
Nor listened to his voice ; — far other thoughts 
Were in my heart. 

JAMES. 

But you will wed the youth ? 

MADELEINE. 

Rather I'll wed my grave. 



SCENE I.] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 9 

JAMES (to MUNGO). 

Why, she won't have you I 
How's this ? I thought she loved you, Master Small ! 

MUNGO. 

Well, so I thought. 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ! — and so she did ; 
She could not help it. Every body loves him — 
He's such a one at tournaments. 

MUNGO. 

Be quiet ! 

LAIRD. 

And all the ladies blushing, flashing, winking ; 
You must have seen it in the Stirling lists, 
When he snipt off your royal plume. 

JAMES. 

My what ? 

LAIRD. 

Your plume, — your feather — a back-handed blow ! 

JAMES. 

What's this, friend Small ? 

MUNGO. 

My father had a stroke 
Of apoplexy, — he's had curious fancies since. 

JAMES. 

I think so has the son. If you're a tilter, 

I'll find you horse and spear ; and Captain Buckie 

Shall hold you for three runs. 

BUCKIE. 

With all my soul. 

MUNGO. 

Not for a million ducats ! I can't ride 

More than a meal-bag — never couched a spear — 

I'm 

LAIRD. 

Gadso ? — who has apoplexy now 't 



98 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

JAMES. 
Better arrange the duel. — Gentle maid, 
Have yon no recollection of a friend? (Shoivs her the scarf.) 
Or of the scarf you wrapt about his head ? 

MADELEINE. 

You ? — oh, forgive my freedom ! — good my liege, 
I knew you not. 

JAMES. 

Would you refuse your help 
To a crack'd skull, because it was a king's ? 
Ah ! for your sake, I've thought of Malcolm Young, 
And raised him to a rank that he deserves. 

MADELEINE. 

I trust he will be happy. 

JAMES. 

That he will ! 
I make no doubt he'll be the happiest man 
On Scottish ground. But you must clear your brow — 
He'll not be happy, if you're dull and sad. 

MADELEINE. 

I, Sir ? Think not of me. I shall be gone, 
And in the silence of some cloister 'd place 
Pray for my King, and him ! 



Tut! tut! not so. 
You shall put on the brightest of your smiles, 
You shall sing loudest, laugh the merriest ; 
You must leave priests to pray'rs and orisons ; 
I've fixed upon a husband you must wed ! 

MUNGO. 

Is't me, Sir? 

JAMES. 

Out, you puppy ! — If you saw — 
{Enter Malcolm, nobly dressed ; led by Hume and Seton.) 

Malcolm — or one his very image — free 
From priestly vows, led forward to your side, 
And kneeling at your feet — What then ? 



SCENE L] THE KING OF THE COMMONS. 99 

MADELEINE. 

My heart 
Knows nothing but its own sorrow. 

JAMES. 

Would you not 
Deign but one look on the poor youth ? 

MADELEINE. 

My looks 
Are consecrate to Heaven. I would not look. 

JAMES. 

And if he knelt and took you by the hand, 
And called your name, and said — 

MALCOLM. 

My Madeleine ! 

MADELEINE. 

Ha ! 'twas his voice ! — 

JAMES. 

It is himself, my girl ! 
(Touches Malcolm's shoulder with his sword.^ 
A knight — rise up, Sir Malcolm — and no priest; 
The good Lord Cardinal has loosed his vows. 

MALCOLM. 

And is it so ? and do I clasp you thus ? 
Oh, this is too much happiness ! 

JAMES. 

Good friend, 
It will not last too long ; be not afraid, 
In a few months, you'll bear it very well ; 
So, in the meantime, make the most of it. 

SOMERVILLE. 

My Liege ! 

JAMES. 

Not yet, my good Lord Somerville, 

(To Seton) 
How look'd our yeomen, when they heard our name 
On the Boroughmuir, to-day? 



100 THE KING OF THE COMMONS. [ACT V. 

SETON. 

They toss'd their caps, 
High in the air, and swore they'd follow you 



Blessings upon them ! 



SETON. 

— To the end of the world. 



And you, my Lords ? 

SOMERVILLE. 

We give you our true swords, 
Our lives, our fortunes. 

JAMES. 

Say you so in truth ? 
Then, by my life, no king in all the earth 
Can move our env3 r , or our fears, one jot. 
The land is safe and unassailable, 
Girt in a panoply of pierceless mail, 
That's guarded by a brave nobility — 
A loving people. 

SETON. 

And true-hearted King ! 

{Curtain falls.) 



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